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It’s Korean election season, complete with all of this nation’s bells and whistles (somewhat different from our own). I’ve had the joy of listening to candidates’ names sung to snazzy pop tunes, got to see bobble-headed animations of them walking through an adoring nation, and have even had some encounters with their dancing, bowing, handshaking minions.

And it makes me realize how happy I was to miss the election season back home. My political opinions may not be sufficiently nuanced for some, as I regarded our last election as a contrived battle between filth and scum. I will say though that, except for one instance, I kept the nastiness to myself. Not so for others, even those I admire and respect as friends.

Along with the habit of speaking in polarizing and offensive language to the opposition there comes the silly idea that one’s opinion really matters in situations of national importance, real or contrived. People think too globally and spend too much time watching what passes for news.

Perhaps cynically, I see those posting hard-line articles, responses and more recently (and reprehensibly), snarky image slogans as attention seeking blow-hards. And it hasn’t ended with the election.

In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, the drums were banged again before they even had a chance to be dusted off. I became aware of the event not through unbiased news coverage, but by a friend’s posting of some shrill screed on gun control. An article poo-pooing America’s gun culture and calling for radical change, it was then reposted and shared five times by various acquaintances. One wonders if they don’t have these kinds of articles ready-made with a few blanks to fill in: location, victims, talking point.

I was tempted to fire back with this:

“Gun control, smun control. People need to stop talking like they know. America has much deeper issues and needs to find common ground and stop alienating its citizens, if that is even remotely possible these days.

In the meantime, do you really think gun control is going to prevent the hideously deranged and maladjusted from accessing one of the hundreds of thousands of guns already out there, under or above the radar? Do you think the federal government is going to stop all the antisocial psychopaths with laws and regulations? If it tried, where would we be then?

Tragedy is terrible, and exploiting it is cynical. So turn off the over-opinionated malarkey that passes for news for Christ’s sake and stop using this event as a platform for your boilerplate political opinions. Instead, if you’re American, I’d look local and do something kind for those in your communities. If you’re not, I’d respectfully refer you to the second sentence in this post.”

I decided to post it here instead of facebook. I’m surprised I’m posting it at all. And perhaps it’s a mistake. Maybe I don’t get it. Perhaps I’ll be seen as a big unfriendly ogre.

Bottom line, I guess this is the refuse of democracy. Name-calling, propaganda, butting in, righteous indignation, exploiting tragedy, scrutinizing insignificance, and diverting away from complicated avenues of discourse into something that people can get rowdy about from their cubicles and recliners. No thank you. I’d rather have hand-dancing, sashes, and jingles all the way.

Now back to my cave.

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