One thing I've really noticed over the past 2-3 years, especially from the political left (though I'm sure the right was just as guilty back in the post-9/11 Patriot Act era or the early Obama years), is a sense of absolutism in arguments. There are many reasons to support Republican candidates, and many reasons to support Democratic candidates...and very very very few of them involve things like "hate", "racism", "xenophobia", and "fear". In fact, among civilized, professional adults, I'd argue none of these reason apply. It's possible for two people to not only disagree politically, but do it for legitimate differences in how they view government, economics, and policy. It's also possible for people to disagree...and still remain good friends. I have many arguments with some of my closest friends, and yet afterwards, we still are able to agree to disagree and go about our business. Simply because someone disagrees with you politically, or supports a candidate you find or found unsavory, doesn't mean they represent "Hate". Just because you agree with your own position (and why wouldn't you) doesn't mean that you represent "Love" either.
As I sifted though the post-election reaction, I found a lot of sad and disappointed posts this morning. This wasn't surprising, and frankly perfectly understandable. I was shocked, saddened, and disappointed myself back in 2012 and could certainly empathize with the emotional reaction. But I also noticed that a high percentage of posts didn't simply express sadness, but anger and rage. The anger wasn't directed at the opposing candidates, but at the people with whom they disagreed. Terms like "white supremacy" and "fear-mongering" and "homophobia" filled the newsfeed, stating without hesitation that if you, the reader, had contributed to the electoral victory...you were not only politically inaccurate, but evil. I don't think I saw a single post of anyone expressing their disdain but also, at least implicitly, acknowledging the other side simply had a different political philosophy.
I haven't responded to any of these negative posts, nor responded to any comments made in person, simply because I know many were made out of anger and frustration...but I think it highlights the problem with absolutism in politics. When you convince yourself that your view is the only morally justifiable view, you make everyone else evil by default. As a result, you find yourself full of the very hatred you claim to reject. That's not to say that your view is inaccurate, or that you're not entitled to vote the way you want...but if you reach a point where the rival voters have become the evil ones, rather than the rival policies or politicians, you've taken a step too far.
There's an old clip from a West Wing episode I'm always reminded of in these situations. I have it posted below.
I'll close with this: isn't it interesting that after 18 months of hard campaigning, polling, guessing, and working...the final election came down to a statistical coin flip? A year and a half of work, and we still hadn't figured out who would or should win? Rather than riding the daily or weekly ups and downs, and posting emotion filled rants due to leaked videos, or FBI allegations, maybe it's best to just wait and see. Odds are we're not going to convince anyone, and we're not going to be able to control the outcome. The emotional argument isn't helping answer the questions...and is really only making us all dislike The People.