Last night I sat in the dance studio, waiting for the Maiden to finish her tap class and scrolling through yet more online drama as the elections coverage began.
And maybe it was the cold studio, or the fact that the Maiden had just come out for a water break, snatched my drink, and glugged the whole thing down, but I was feeling slightly snarky. I wanted to post this as my status: “Thank goodness the elections are almost over. Then we can get back to our usual civil discourse on breastfeeding, circumcision, and vaccination.”
And yet, maybe so?
We’ve all witnessed an overwhelming amount of nastiness this summer and fall as the elections drew closer: hate-spewing, name calling, and other despicable behaviors among people who would normally have been friends. People on both sides of the political debates have expressed disappointment with the hostile climate, and yet amid the calls for civility the bigger truth is often ignored.
The reality? All this is no different than how we really are every day. It’s just a little more concentrated and a little more obvious.
Whether it’s playing out the mommy wars online or in the carpool lane, fighting our spouses over whose job it is to take out the trash, or yelling at our kids because it’s simpler than trying, really trying, to understand where they’re coming from, we’re a contentious bunch. And sometimes it seems that, even subconsciously, we’re so bent on one-upmanship that we don’t care whom we hurt.
But no matter how dearly held our beliefs, being right–whether in politics or child-rearing–is never as important as being, well, nice. As kids we were taught, “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” How are we playing the game of life?
Looking at a context much larger than politics, I’d have to say we all could use a lesson in good sportsmanship.