The Wisconsin recall elections are over. Finally.
And now, I have some things to say.
First - I didn't vote yesterday. Nope. Not the first time, probably not the last time.
My reasons were different this time around. Rather than feeling under informed, I felt like I'd been beaten to death with information: facts stated as opinions, opinions stated as facts, and mud-slinging to boot. From both sides. It was sickening.
Don't get me wrong. I tried. I really, honestly tried to take a side. It felt like as soon as I was close to making a decision, something new came to light that made me back off and rethink the whole damn thing. In the end, I couldn't justify voting when I couldn't decide who to vote for.
I managed to remain fairly silent about the whole ordeal. Many of my friends were dead-set on recalling Walker. Others stood behind him the whole way. I kept my mouth shut and stayed out of things. Why? Because I was scared.
These days, I'm normally not too afraid to share my opinions, especially on here. But I took the coward's way out and am writing this post the day after the recall elections. First, so no one could try to goad me into voting one way or the other. It's over. I didn't vote. Let's move on. Second, because I saw people lose friends over this insanity. I saw debates that turned personal and cruel. I felt like saying the "wrong" thing was going to turn my life into Hell, that I would lose the respect of people that I like or even love.
Quite honestly, I'm still scared. As soon as I post this, it's out there. It's beyond my control. Once I've said it, I can't un-say it. But I have to believe that my friends will respect and love me enough that they will see beyond this and just keep loving me for who I am.
That being said...
To Walker supporters: You prevailed. Congratulations. Please, though, remember to be kind. People in this state felt strongly enough to initiate a recall of the man you support. Winning doesn't give you the right to gloat. It doesn't mean you should talk down to anyone or feel superior in any way. Be gracious. It could have gone the other way; think about how you would like to be treated in that case. Most of all, if you stand behind Walker, don't be surprised when certain people are shocked or even disgusted by your opinion, but do be respectful and be willing to defend what you believe in.
To recall supporters: I'm so sorry. I'm sorry that this happened, that you felt so strongly about something and it didn't work out. I'm sorry that you're feeling hurt, let down, and angry. But remember to be proud that you stood up for what you felt was right and stood against what you felt was wrong. And like the Walker supporters, I ask you to remember that it could have gone the other way. When your side loses, it's pretty easy to say that you would've been kinder about things (any good sports fan knows how this goes). I'm not saying you have to take any bullying or that you should let anyone look down on you; no one should have to endure that. Just remember that the tides will turn, and remember how this feels.
To everyone: What's done is done. I know damn near everyone has something to say about the results, and I truly believe you are all entitled to your opinions. That's part of being human. But don't shove it down someone's throat. Don't rub anyone's face in your victory, and don't place blame on someone just because they think differently. And please, don't throw away friends because they didn't vote the way you did or because they voice a different opinion. If they're acting like a dick, then fine, only you can make that call. But think twice before you do anything hasty.