Research on social-cognitive heuristics tells us that we are overly influenced by vivid examples, even if they are examples of rare phenomena (thus we are more likely to be afraid of flying than of driving, despite the safety records, because airplane crashes make national news while more common car crashes may not even make the front page of the local paper). Recent videos on YouTube have shown political “supporters” making outrageous statements, and it is all too human for us to see that as the rule rather than the exception. But… it is the exception. The majority of supporters on both sides are good, decent, thoughtful people like you.
Of course there are Christians, of course there are Muslims,
And Atheists, Pagans, and Jews
Supporting McCain or supporting Obama—
Supporting a spectrum of views—
Of course there are numbskulls, and ignorant pinheads
Whose views are incredibly dense,
And of course they reside on both sides, red and blue
Of the nation’s political fence
It gets to the point where we almost expect it—
Perhaps it’s what humans just do—
We forget these are merely the vocal extremists
Whose numbers, in truth, are quite few.
These salient images seen in the media
Show us ourselves at our worst
But just look around, and you’ll see something different,
And not what it looked like at first:
The people who back both McCain and Obama
Are people like you and like me
And most are intelligent, thoughtful and kind,
And like us, they don’t like what they see.
This silent majority, not in the news,
When confronted with ignorant hate
May decide to combat it, or maybe ignore it,
Or challenge them to a debate
And sometimes you’ll find that these ignorant cowards
Back down when you call out their bluff
So… if you’re like me, and you’re sick of the lying,
Decide that enough is enough!
And remember, the ignorant liars can shout
Until all of their faces are blue;
When you get in that booth, and you pull shut the curtain…
The one with the power is you.
Cuttlecap tip to Orac, and to Coturnix