I feel bullied this election season...

...and I've had enough.  I think the majority of you would admit that you are fed up with the mud slinging and name calling and news reports and speculation, but can I be the only one who feels personally attacked?  Does anyone else feel demeaned by just about every political ad or social media post?  If I don't support one candidate, I'm immoral and turning a blind eye to corruption.  If I throw my vote behind another, I am ignorant and sending this country to hell in a hand basket.  And what of those who can't vote their conscience with either major political party?  They are made to feel that their vote for a third party is completely wasted.  Well, that's encouraging.

Then there are the well-meaning individuals who are taking a (slightly) higher road by not commenting on who you should vote for, but simply insisting that you do.  I have heard things like, "it's un-american" or even "unchristian" not to vote.  "It's our moral obligation" some have said.  My response to that?  In a perfect world.  Last time I checked, there was no biblical command to vote.  This political process didn't even exist in bible times, so don't try to find a verse to back up that stance.  If a person is afraid to admit that they aren't voting for fear of being shamed, what kind of freedom is that?  I don't think that type of browbeating is what our forefathers had in mind.  (Please reserve your tongue - or type - lashing on this.  I'm simply trying to make a point.)

This election will go down in history - and not in a good way.  Political discussions, when not descending into out-right shouting matches, have become nothing more than avenues to display our seeming superiority.  We have forgotten how to disagree without vilifying those with opposing views.  In essence, we've replaced love and respect with condescension.

I have heard many people express their eagerness for this election to be over, as if the ugliness will all be left behind on November 9.  I've got news for you.  It won't.  Not without a big change of heart.  The day after the election will still find us disagreeing over the same things, and some will be angrier and more disgruntled than ever.  To borrow from one campaign slogan, the only way we will "make America great again" is to love.  We have to love each other enough to reintroduce civility into our conversations.  After all, most of us really are just doing the best we can.  We need to respect each other enough as fellow human beings to allow for differences of opinion.  We have to recognize and remember how much value there is in each other.

As a Christian, I am praying for the outcome of this election.  But the next President of the United States won't be able to shift this contemptuous climate.  Only God can change hearts.

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;"  Romans 12:10