Election day. I have refrained from saying anything publicly about any of my political leanings or beliefs or desires because this year’s landscape is so volatile. I have friends that are firmly, solidly planted on their side of the line and will not budge or bother to attempt to listen to the other side. I have made it known that I will not tell anyone who I am voting for, and I plan on sticking to that policy, even after the results are announced and final. And when January 17, 2013, or whatever the inauguration date winds up being, I will support the sworn-in President.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m more aware of what’s going on and why it matters, or if this election is really as important as everyone seems to think it is. I do agree with the sentiment that it’s the most important election ever, but I don’t think it’s because it’s The. Most. Important. Election. Ever. I think it’s because it’s current. It’s now. And that makes it relevant. But Ever? Nah. I don’t see it that way.
It seems as though there is just way too much hatred, acid and vitriol from both sides. Not necessarily from the candidates, but from those who think they’re more right than the other side. I don’t believe that it’s because people are more hate-filled than they ever have been – I believe that due to the advent and popularity of social media, the “people” not only have a voice but a way to have those voices be heard in a louder way than just the ballot box.
Regardless of which candidate wins, the problems this nation faces will not be solved as long as one side continues to undermine the efforts of the other. And even though I’m not going to tell you who I’m voting for, I here’s my honest opinion about the candidates: I believe they are both good men who both want good things for our country. I think they both have different ways of getting there, but they really do want good things – stronger economy, a healthy nation, and for the citizens of this country to be able to continue to exercise their agency just as our Founding Fathers envisioned things more than 200 years ago.
I honestly believe that whichever candidate wins everything will be okay. No, I don’t think I’m being hopelessly naïve when I say that. I truly mean it. Just because “your” guy doesn’t win, doesn’t mean the “other guy” will be wrong. Just because he doesn’t do things the way you think they should be done doesn’t mean he’s wrong. It just means he’s different. As long as we continue to operate in a true bi-partisan “democracy” things likely won’t get done the way you think they should, or by the person you think they should be done by. There will always be someone on the other side who tries to block a move simply because they think their way is better. Until we can learn to work together, regardless of political beliefs or party affiliation, things WILL get worse.
Here’s another fact – my vote for President doesn’t matter today, because I live in a state where it’s a foregone conclusion what the outcome will be. I’m okay with that also. (Your political Facebook rants and “funny” memes have not swayed my vote. If anything, they have made me re-think if I want to vote for that person because if someone so mean as you thinks I’m an “idiot” for not voting the way you think I should, I’m not really sure I want to be your friend anymore.) I will still go cast my vote, and I will vote for other important issues being decided in my state, and those votes WILL count.
I am fortunate and blessed to live in what is still the greatest country in the world. It can only continue to be that way if we all decide – consciously make the decision – to work together. After all, this is a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” It fails when we stop supporting its ideals and working in cooperation; not when your guy doesn’t win.
“(Eleven score and sixteen) years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war.” (Don’t think this is a civil war? Look at Facebook to see how much people are fighting with each other.)
“It is for us the living, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which [fallen soldiers] have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Go cast your vote, if you haven’t already. Vote your conscience and root for your guy to win – it’s the American way. But if it doesn’t pan out the way you wanted it to, don’t be a stumbling block to progress.