OK folks, today is the big day. No matter what happens in the election today, history will be made. We will either have the first African American in office or we will have the first woman. Amazing progress this country has made. And what I am hoping is for one more bit of progress. Whichever way the vote goes, I am hoping that we can all come together and work to repair what is broken with our system.
Neither candidate and neither party can fix everything alone. The effort and ideas of all Americans of all races, wealth categories, and belief structures will be required to fix the problems we have.
We are staring down divisiveness, a battered economy, a struggling war, a screwed up health care system, an energy crisis and much more. Without the unselfish effort of everyone involved, nothing will get fixed and we will be in the same position four years from now. And I hope and pray that that is nothing any of us want to see.
I was watching an interview with a pastor from somewhere out west the other day, and he was seeking to remind everyone that while politics is important, it does not make or break us and it does not define us. No matter who wins the election, you are still your own person and can and should pursue the things that you deem are important in your life. Just as we tell our children that they should not allow peer pressure to force their decisions, we should not allow the way a vote goes to change us personally. It can inform you, enlighten you and help you, but it should not discourage you, dissuade you, or cause you to quit working for what you believe in.
I have to admit it; I am ready for this election to be over. As I sat down this evening to write this new blog entry, I was trying to think of what to write about. Some ideas came to mind, but they all revolved around the candidates, the issues, trust, mistrust, lies, being two-faced, and fear. I am sorry, but I am just getting tired of it all.
I am tired of the fear and the distrust from both sides. I am tired of the lies being told and the falsehoods being circulated. I am tired of the racist jokes and the sexist images. But most of all I am tired of the way I find myself getting carried away on this blog, in email, on twitter, and in person. I know I have turned some people off – not by my views or who I support, but by how vehemently I have pushed those views on others.
This extends beyond me too. Things are becoming very, very split around the nation. People who are normally friendly towards one another are turning away. The American people, who are normally a pretty good lot, are saying some awfully nasty things at rallies. Even just driving down the road people are getting honked at and flipped off because of the bumper stickers on their cars. Why should you display open aggression to someone you don’t know just because they display of support for their chosen candidates – be they McCain and Palin, Obama and Biden, or even Hillary Clinton or John Edwards?
And finally I am tired of the uncertainty. I do not think that the markets and other financial indicators will settle down until this race is over. Hopefully all it will take is the election, but it may take until the actual inauguration before some stability takes over. Now I know that everything won’t just suddenly turn around and the markets become a happy place full of clover and butterflies, but at least they should even out. When the election is over we will all have an idea of what direction the next four years are going to take, and that will help a lot.
So what do you think? Is this election making things better or worse? I know we will hopefully be better off with a new President, but is the election itself causing separation, class or race warfare, or other damage to our democracy?
According to the evening news, it looks like the civility backlash in the election is finally starting to take effect. The news showed scenes from a couple of McCain’s rallies where the people were just fearful and hateful about Obama. It was truthfully a horrifying site and even John McCain seemed taken aback. Now the McCain / Palin campaign is in the unenviable position of trying to back up a bit and let it be known that Obama is not the anti-Christ. I see McCain doing this, but somehow I just can’t see the governor of Alaska backing down any.
The real danger of what has been going on is not just that it demonizes a good man like Barack Obama, but that it really increases the rifts in this country. Those rifts may be between black and white, or between Republican and Democrat, between rich and middle-class, or between urban and suburban. No matter what the difference, as both candidates are saying now, we need to remember that we can disagree while still respecting the other side.
If we are ever going to bring this country together and fix what ails it, from the economy to health care, we have to stop vilifying those who do not agree with us. We are going to have to sit down at the same table with each other and reach a consensus. How can you expect to be able to do that if you have just painted the other person as evil?
This would be funny if it wasn’t true or if she wasn’t a major contender for Vice President of the United States. As it is, this is scary. And the fact that she was chosen, and that she still keeps up this misguided argument, forces you to call into question the judgment of the man who chose her — John McCain. No wonder he wants to postpone the debate!