KATIE ZERR: We can’t grow if stymied by political ideology


As this political season comes to a close, I chose to write a personal column rather than an editorial this week. After months of being bombarded with negative ads and distorted facts from both sides of the aisle, I cannot wait until I can actually watch network television again.

As I anxiously await the final campaign commercial on Tuesday, I am greatly saddened by the tone of elections on all levels. The airwaves are constant streams of poison unleashed by groups with extremely deep pockets that care not what their propaganda does to individuals and their families.

It is not how we roll in South Dakota and it disgusts me to no end.

It would be different if those who were behind these pervasive pits of political propaganda did not feed the notion that anyone who doesn’t agree with certain political views is “the enemy.”

A person who has a differing opinion is not someone who should be shunned or punished because they don’t agree with the Democrat, Republican or Tea Party doctrines.

Others should not vilify those who do not buy into the hard line mantra that it is our way or the highway. Being labeled as “one of them” in this time of political campaigning is nothing but divisive and feeds the need for a reason to dislike others without a legitimate one.

It used to amuse me to listen to people criticize others because they have a different opinion than theirs, but it has gone beyond that now.

Instead of actually having to explore all sides of an issue, people are letting others tell them how they should think, whom they like or dislike and who is on their side.

Parroting a commercial paid for by super PACs and created by people who make a living dancing around and distorting the truth does not make you right.

We have lost the ability to look at those running for office and where they stand on issues and who will do what is best for the country. Instead we let talking heads from liberal or conservative networks spoonfeed us slanted information to feed the need to dislike and distrust.

We should not let people who get six-figure salaries tell us how to think. They don’t actually care as long as they get paid.

We shouldn’t let our spouses, our clergy, our relatives or neighbors tell us how we should vote. We should take it upon ourselves to learn the truth about where the candidates stand on issues that are important to us.

Voting against someone because they are not a “true Christian” or because they are not white, or not male, or because they are rich or richer, is just wrong no matter how it is spun.

The real information is available to us if we just take the time to wade through the swamp of national campaigns to look for it. As Fox Mulder would say, “The truth is out there.”

You don’t have to agree with a person seeking office. You just have to have the confidence that he or she will do what is right for the majority when the time comes.

The idea that someone who has an opinion differing from yours is ignorant and has no right to voice it is not what this county is about. But that is what is happening on all levels.

We can criticize those we feel cannot or will not do the job for us. That is our right.

To shun those, either by words or actions, because they have differing opinions is not allowing the exchange of ideas. It stymies the mind and limits reasoning. It is not healthy to hate because someone does not tow a certain party line.

Not supporting someone, whether it be in life or in business, because they have differing opinions is shooting oneself in the foot.

You can’t grow as a person or in business if you are limited by boundaries of political ideology.


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