Wash off that election-year venom by being more civil toward one another

I’ll tell you who won the 2016 presidential race – aspirin manufacturers. This ordeal has spurred so many headaches worldwide, anyone with stock in a pharmaceutical company can easily pay for a leisurely Christmas vacation in Fiji.

 

With the election over, America’s two heavily polarized political groups have changed – into even more heavily polarized political groups. There’s the “deal with it” group, whose members still are running victory laps.

 

There’s the “never!” group, whose members see property damage and jumping up and down like Donald Duck as rational ways to move the nation forward.

There are subsets of college students crying in their Play-Doh, and there are folks whom I refer to, without elaboration, as “grabbers.”

But there’s another group that hopefully is growing. I would include myself. It’s the group that wants everyone tempted to talk politics to stop acting like ill-bred jerks.

Oh, you too? We might need some more chairs.

Times was, you could have arguments about politics and social issues, and the participants could leave it all out on the field. The problem today – thanks, social media – is that nobody totally leaves the field. The gates are open day and night for however many players and spectators want to join in. Not so much like an organized sport – more like demolition derby.

I have a lot of great friends. Rational friends. But when a few of them got the chance to talk politics this year, it was like total strangers hijacked their Facebook and Twitter accounts. They were nuttier than a squirrel guzzling hazelnut liqueur.

When was the last time someone got in your face, screamed their contrary opinion, insulted you, and left you thinking, “Gosh – they really make sense. I’ve totally changed my mind”?

I figured as much.

So if you pollute social media with that nonsense, stop.

If all those people stop being jerks, they’ll have more time on their hands.

To do what? To calm down. Be civil to others. Pay it forward.

I think I’m already seeing it happen. This will take some explaining.

As you might already know, on River Watch Parkway, on either side of Interstate 20, the eastbound and westbound left lanes are closed while transportation crews rebuild the medians. There are huge electronic signs telling drivers the left lane is closed, and to merge right.

But some drivers aren’t doing that. You’ve seen the type – the driver who stays in a closing lane until the last possible second before horning in at the end, then decides to merge. I believe these people to be inherently evil. They must be stopped.

Turns out they are being stopped. I’ve seen it personally twice already in the past week. A driver takes it upon himself or herself to straddle the lanes, which blocks the evil drivers from creating snarls and keeps traffic flowing for the good drivers. I had never seen that before, but I think it’s a brilliant act of courtesy.

Pam Tucker, director of the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency, mentioned the same phenomenon recently after she witnessed it on Washington Road. “It was teamwork right there on the roadway!” she wrote on Facebook. “Great blocking.”

Is it against the law? Possibly. There is a “failure to maintain lane” traffic violation in Georgia, but since I’m not a police officer or a lawyer I don’t know how it applies to this.

If it is against the law, I’m not encouraging you to do it. But if you do, thank you.

Little acts of kindness like that, repeated by a lot of people – who would object to that?

That’s how we’re going to wash away all this election-year venom.

And if you’re acting like a jerk, you’re not helping this country move forward.

You’re not going to help solve even one of America’s problems if your surly behavior contributes to another of America’s problems.

 

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