It is Tuesday morning and I just voted. By the time this issue hits the streets we will have a new president-elect. A little over 40 percent of the country will be elated, a little over 40 percent of the country will be devastated and I’m not really sure how the remaining 7-8 percent will feel. Probably not too surprised their candidate didn’t win.
For 20 long, grueling months we endured one of the nastiest, most divisive presidential races in modern history. Perhaps if the name-calling had stopped with the candidates things wouldn’t seem so dismal. But after witnessing people battle this thing out on social media to the point of destroying friendships, it’s pretty depressing. What started as respectful debates among pals slowly devolved into just “screaming” the F-word at each other in all caps and calling one another clueless, gullible fools — each of them truly believing the other to be a sheep who is drinking their guy’s or gal’s and/or the left- or right-leaning media’s Kool-Aid.
I have even seen people declare that they just don’t think they can be friends with neighbors, co-workers or anyone else who supported “the other candidate,” branding them as not just people with whom they disagreed, but as ignorant or crazy or racist or bigots or mouth-breathers or just pure evil.
Perhaps some individuals did act so ugly they deserve to be “unfriended” in more ways than one, but it’s important not to paint the supporters of the candidate you didn’t go for with such a broad brush.
Even in a state as red as Alabama, many people cast their ballots while holding their noses. And some people ended up voting for a candidate because of a single issue, not because they loved or stood behind every single thing they said.
There were certainly Trump voters who hated everything about him but they were such pro-lifers, they just couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary. And too, there were people who are sick of Hillary Clinton and don’t really trust her, but they still voted for her because they considered Trump’s words more than just “locker room talk” or his lack of restraint and judgment during the campaign disqualifying and scary. We all process these issues in different ways. What’s huge for one person isn’t such a big deal for the next. And who are we to tell someone else how they should assign their personal values?
It was a tough choice for many, so let’s all give each other a break. Because I am willing to bet most of us — even those of us who ultimately voted for different candidates — actually agree on more things than we disagree.
We all want what’s best for our kids. We all want to see them do better than we have done for ourselves. We want to see job opportunities for everyone, from high school grads with vocational skills to 20-somethings who have just had expensive college diplomas placed in their hands to 50-somethings who have lost their jobs and feel like they will never find another. We all want health care that is indeed affordable and not to be taxed to death. We all want to feel safe … in many different ways.
We all really have a lot in common, and we just can’t lose sight of the fact that while we may disagree on who should lead us or how they do it, we are all trying to get to the same place.
I am so tired of the ugliness. I am so tired of the gridlock. I want to see our new president and Congress sit down together and say, “Hey, there is no way I can give you this, but I can bend on this if you can help me out on this.” And actually get at least some of that aforementioned stuff we all want done.
It seems like we are sending people to Washington these days just to be obstructionists and to hate on each other. Why not just elect people who can tell the best “your momma” jokes, if that is what we are looking for? I’m not trying to be all Pollyanna here — I get there are fundamental differences — but how much more of just shutting each other down can we take? Compromise is not a four-letter word.
The world is not going to come to a screeching halt, no matter who is elected. The president is one person. They need the help of 535 other people to get things done. And those 535 have millions of us who send them to Capitol Hill and then never even bother to write them a letter or pick up the phone or shoot them an email to tell them how we want them to vote as OUR representative on any number of issues. Rather, we will just continue to argue on Facebook with people we have been friends with since grade school and post nasty memes of the president-elect, whoever that may be, because, you know, that’s the way things get accomplished.
This election has been so nasty. But I hope we have learned something from this and all of the divisiveness that led up to it and created this election cycle of insanity. If we just keep screaming at each other and not listening and calling each other names, nothing will get done. That is as certain as death and taxes.
Maybe, just maybe, if WE THE PEOPLE tried a new approach and not just relied on the guy or gal who gets elected, we would finally achieve for ourselves the change we ALL do truly deserve.
As some dead president once said (probably when he was alive), “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”
If we hate what is going on in this country, maybe it’s time to look in the mirror rather than who is sitting and who will sit behind a desk at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.