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Until I was nearly 12 years old, I always hated when the clock struck 6 p.m. because that meant every single channel on television would be showing the exact same thing — the news. My sixth-grade teacher changed all of that.
Nanette Warren was my sixth-grade teacher at Spaulding Elementary in Spring Hope and every one of her tests, regardless of the subject, had an extra points section called “in the news.” To get the extra points, you had to watch the news, and I loved extra points.
I became fascinated by it and until the mid-2000s, I could sit and watch the 24-hour channel’s 30-minute repeat cycle over and over. Now, working in news myself, I can barely stand to turn it on anymore. Not because I am around it constantly, but because of what is in it.
When I launched the Southern Nash News, I vowed to stay away from the overly political, choosing instead to offer things I thought would bring our community together rather than rip it to shreds. I feel I have lived up to that commitment.
With that said, I am going to venture slightly into the political for just a minute and ask that you listen to me on this. Over the next 12 months, the worst America has to offer will be splashed across your screens and newspapers for the world to see. I am not talking about a particular candidate or a particular party — but rather the ungodly bad behavior of our citizens that’s been part of the political scene for almost 12 years now.
The name-calling, the violence, the protests, the anger, the underhandedness, the corruption — all from both sides — has reached the point that civility no longer exists in national politics and it is taking a serious beating in state politics. This threatens the very core of democracy and needs to end.
Ellen DeGeneres and I have very little in common politically, but I found more respect for her last month when she defended her friendship with former President George W. Bush. People were upset with her, and I don’t understand why.
Why can’t someone with opposing political views be a friend? My wife and I don’t always agree on politics. My mom and I rarely agree on politics, and I have numerous friends who are on the complete opposite end of the political spectrum from where I am. And guess what? I love them anyways. I respect their right to their opinion and we don’t dive into political talk — because we respect each other, and we respect each other’s right to have our own set of beliefs.
I served in the United States Navy, not just for people who thought like me — but also for every single American citizen to have the right to their opinion as long as they understand that I am also entitled to have mine; and they don’t have to agree with it.
Over the next 12 months when you look at social media, remember at least 90 percent of what you read in posts about politics will be pure rhetoric. Don’t listen to the nastiness and please don’t participate in it either. We are better than we have become.
If you are ever in doubt when you are pounding away at the keys in anger toward a friend on social media for some political crap, ask yourself; “Would I say this in front of the Almighty?” (If you don’t believe in him — would you say it in front of your mom?)
The Golden Rule has not changed. People are going to be angry, they are going to be unreasonable, they may even tell you they hate you.
Love them anyways, and treat them the way you would want to be treated. All we have is each other — let’s not lose sight of that simple truth.
Mark Cone is owner and operator of SouthernNashNews.com.