At least for some of us, hope is still alive

Social media can be a lot of fun. It can also be very frustrating when our individual agenda doesn’t match that of our “friends.’’ Nothing like beginning a column with an unoriginal thought to grab the reader’s attention right?

Ken Vance, Editor
Ken Vance, Editor

I don’t go to social media, largely Facebook, to read about the political viewpoints or ideological rants of others. I go to social media to keep in touch with friends, family and acquaintances who I normally would not interact with on a regular basis. I want to know how you’re doing. I want to know how your children and grandchildren are doing. I want to know if you deserve a kudo or “atta boy” (or “atta girl”). Or, if you need a “hang in there.’’ I know it’s a bit simplistic and shallow, but I like to hear where you went on your vacation and where you had a dinner or what kind of entertainment you’re partaking in.

I don’t want to know your thoughts about the recent election, or what you think of our president-elect. That’s a bit unfair of me, I realize, because I am blessed with the best of both worlds, which allows me to compartmentalize these different aspects of my life. If I want to evade your world with my thoughts on politics or society or whatever else captures my mind for more than a moment, I have this venue in which I can share my thoughts. You may not have such a venue, so you use what’s at your disposal, which is social media. I appreciate that. (By the way, you are more than welcome to submit a letter to the editor to me to be published on ClarkCountyToday.com by emailing me at ken.v@clarkcountytoday.com)

I try to be as tolerant as possible. It’s only been a rare occasion when I have unfriended someone on Facebook because of something political of nature that they’ve  posted on social media and when I have, it’s usually because I’m protecting my friends or followers from the venom more than I am shielding myself. But, it’s’ a rare occasion when I allow myself to get pulled into a political ,or ideological, debate on social media. It’s just a no-win situation. I don’t the desire to change the mind of others and I couldn’t even if I tried. I like to believe I have an open mind, and therefore could be enlightened during a debate with someone who is not like minded, but it probably happens far less than I’m willing to recognize.

All that said, since the November general election, I have, upon weak moments, responded to things I have read on social media and I did so again this morning. What lured me into the lion’s den today was a story from the New York Post that included comments made by Michelle Obama during her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The first lady pointed out that her husband campaigned for president on a promise to restore “hope,’’ but that hope has died as a result of our recent election.

“Hope is necessary,’’ Michelle Obama said. “It’s a necessary concept and Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. He and I and so many believe that. What else do you have if you don’t have hope.’’

The comment that I made on my friend’s Facebook post was, “What an incredibly poor example of leadership?’’ Especially if the first lady actually believes her own words that “hope is necessary,’’ why would she participate in evaporating it in the millions of people who admire her? Not only do I believe it’s poor leadership, I also believe it’s incredibly irresponsible as well.

I’m now 53 years old and my memory isn’t what it used to be. So, I welcome you to challenge my memory on this statement. I don’t remember conservatives running around eight years ago proclaiming the end of the world as we know it. And, if they were, it certainly wasn’t to the level of the political tone that has been present in our country since the election.

If your response to my statement is that is because anticipating a future with Barack Obama in the White House is much more tolerable than the thought of a world with Donald Trump as president, I would counter with we don’t know that yet and all the intolerance and predictions of doom and gloom aren’t doing any of us any good.

I like to believe I’m tolerant of everything except intolerance. And, I’ve witnessed an incredible amount of intolerance in this country since the election, and it’s not by the party or ideological group so often accused of the intolerance.

Another of the many social media posts that drives me crazy is by parents who post, “what am I supposed to tell my children who are crying due to their fear of a world with Trump as president?’’ To those parents I ask, “why is your child so distraught over the thought of Trump as president?’’ Could it be the adults in their life planted such a seed in the mind of the child, and it was in that seed that the  fear was given life?

I believe in our form of government. I believe our forefathers knew what they were doing. I don’t believe one president, even with a like-minded Congress, can bring us to our collective knees as a nation. Maybe I’m living in denial. Maybe I’m just happy that someone’s headed to Washington to knock over the table of political correctness, of status quo, of politics as usual. I believe that change, any change, was the main motivation of those who voted for Trump. And, there’s a very good and real reason many of us wanted change in Washington, D.C.

I’m not asking you to agree with me, or share my ideology. I honestly don’t believe I’m the smartest guy in the room. I slept just fine during the past eight years with a liberal Democrat in the White House. So, everybody, just relax until you have some real evidence of this national calamity you believe we’re on a path to.

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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