My Flag (Pin) is Bigger Than Yours

Not to worry. You can keep reading. I’m not going to go there. I’m not going to get political and my hope is that by the end of this post—aside from those who know me personally—many readers will not know which side I am casting my vote for three weeks from today.

I simply find it amazing how, in our 24-hour news cycle, there are so many little things that seem to matter an awful lot. While watching the first Presidential debate between Governor Romney and President Obama, I noted a rather curious difference between the two candidates… and I’m not talking about their stance on tax cuts.

Right out of the shoot as they shook hands and took to their respective podiums, I noticed that there was a significant difference in the size of the two men’s lapel pins. President Obama wore his standard pin that he can be seen wearing on most occasions while Governor Romney adorned his navy suit with a much larger one.

And I knew… I KNEW that this variance would make it into the news somehow. If you don’t believe me, a quick Google search on “Presidential Lapel Pin Size” will prove otherwise. Anyway, in addition to the actual issues at hand regarding the future direction of our nation… the implications of the flag pin differential were being dissected the following morning just as I suspected.

Now, I personally don’t care about pin size, hair thickness, eyebrow shape or tie color… but the media thinks that I might. So they tell me. Along with A LOT of other things that really won’t matter in the long run. However, I’m not blaming the media for this. They are merely delivering to us—the collective “We the People”—what we seem to enjoy celebrating so much these days… Division.

It is such an easy trap to fall into. In fact, it is a cinch what with all of the commercials, the scare tactics and the cleverly and strategically shrouded truth, to begin bickering amongst ourselves about who is right and who is wrong. All the while we keep forgetting that we share the real estate and overall status of what lies within the boundaries of this nation.

Recently, while at dinner with some friends I got into a somewhat heated discussion with one of the men about the issues, the candidates and our personal differences. And during one of the debates, I sunk to putting biased comments on Facebook about the candidate who I did not prefer. In doing so I got responses from friends who happened to disagree with me, and the conversation inevitably descended into petty, misguided frustration and anger.

It was then that it struck me how “not worth it” all of this political volleying really is. And I took my slanted comments down and replaced them with the following:

“Had a momentary lapse in judgment last night and began participating on here in “debate talk.” I forgot that the consequences of that lay not in discovering who disagrees with you but in learning what everyone else thinks. I don’t WANT to know what everyone else is thinking. No one is going to change my mind — a mind I’ve made up for myself. The only thing the participation in “debate discussion” invites is division between me and people I otherwise call friends. I’m going to try to hold my breath (and my opinion) for another month and then silently express that opinion in the polling booth — the most powerful and effective forum of all.”

The comment garnered a rather large and favorable response from both my Republican and Democratic friends and family, proving my theory that before we were political rivals, we were friends and family who, at the end of the day, stand beneath the SAME flag with the SAME colors and the SAME number of stars and stripes. And that’s what is getting lost in all of this bitter fighting over the details… the remembrance, above all, of our sameness.


11 thoughts on “My Flag (Pin) is Bigger Than Yours

  1. JT says:

    Bravo, Joanna, I along with you have purposely not broached the subject on Facebook or on here, not because I don’t have opinions, but rather because that it is just my opinion. As an aside I personally have really struggled with this election because I really don’t like either choice. Of course that is just my opinion as well 🙂

    • Thanks JT. I felt somewhat passionate about this one because I think and worry so much about politics and yet… I’m trying increasingly so to keep my opinions out of social media. The bickering is not worth it. Admittedly, I tend to get very frustrated when someone disagrees with me because of my passion for the subject. I think you are certainly not alone with being displeased with either candidate. Many people are unhappy with ALL of them. The choice wasn’t difficult for me… but enduring the commercials, finger pointing and endless media coverage is getting very old. Thanks for commenting. Honestly, I had thought this post and topic would be more popular, but I guess this time I was way off. Good thing I’m not running for office! 😉

  2. I’m Canadian. Does my opinion count?

    See, I find it really sad that people can’t rationally discuss how their country gets run without it being a divisive thing. If regular people aren’t discussing it because they don’t want to offend anyone, and instead are just silently sitting back with their opinions, then the only people who do get heard are the extremists on both sides. And their opinions will be what decisions are based on.

    I am an outsider on this election, but I read enough to have been saturated in the news of it. While I consider my views centre-left, I know that by American standards, they fall on the far left, so it’s obvious how I want this one to swing. But I don’t think that means that every single thing the other side has to say is automatically invalid. And if the country is as clearly split down these lines as it is, whoever wins has to take the other side’s views into account. Writing them off means writing off half the country, which strikes me as antithetical to the concept of democracy. (Personally, I think whoever wins should have the opposition leader as vice, but no one ever consults me on these things.)

    Anyway, I think my point is that while, as a person who prefers to avoid conflict, I understand your desire to bow out of the conversation, I think that what your country most needs is people who can discuss the issues and differences in an open, rational, and non-judgmental manner to find common ground to work from.

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