Seems an ancient topic only three days after the event, but some thoughts linger in my mind which I’ll express here now, before life swiftly sweeps us into the future and these musings hardly warrant a read-though…
On election night I’d gone to bed shortly after Elihu. I know that the only time I have to myself is after he’s asleep – but I can never last that long to enjoy the window. And that particular night I had a heavy, waiting heart, so going to bed seemed the gentlest and best thing to do. However, I awoke with a start at 11:36 and realized that we’d probably chosen a new president by now, that the waiting was likely over – so I turned on the TV. It had already been on the comedy channel – and so it was through a characteristically heavy-handed bit by my beloved Mr. Colbert that I learned the breaking news. What a lovely way to awaken from my nap… I was relieved, quietly thrilled, and I was laughing. Thank you, Stephen.
While I might have gone directly back to bed to enjoy a sound sleep, I simply could not. I had to stick around and hear from the men themselves. So I did the dishes, I tidied the kitchen, arranged things for the next morning’s breakfast and packed lunches to pass the final hours. I heard Mitt speak first. And was I thrown – for the first time, I could hear the humanity in his voice. Relieved of the campaign, he was, I believe, finally able to represent himself as a person. As he thanked his family, friends and team members I heard genuine gratitude. I was riveted; who was this guy? First I’d seen of him! It wouldn’t have changed my vote – fundamental principals remained – yet it warmed my heart to see him let down a little. I actually liked him in that moment. He was behaving like a real person. ! At the risk of appearing a bit naive and sentimental here, I believe that when he thanked his family, he was speaking from a place of real love, and that is always transformative; it is inherently honest. So now he can go spend some quality time with his five sons and their families (it’s Mrs. R who’s the unsung hero here, I think). Good. Let’s move on.
The following day I heard a few passive-aggressive comments from people whom I took to be Romney supporters. Only long after the moments were gone did I think that maybe it might have been a more powerful choice to call out the elephant in the room – and maybe even have a short, civil chat about the beast. I understand that there’s some steam to be let off from the folks whose candidate lost, but do I need to pretend that I didn’t hear the almost, but not quite under-their-breath remarks on the subject? Am I supposed to – as I did several times – merely chuckle politely and just sort of ‘oh well’ it away? Won’t do so if another such situation arises, but I doubt that it will. It hardly seems there was an election. From a churning ocean to a still pond. Crazy.
Reiterating my sentiment from the previous post, I say again that as humans we all share a few basic goals in life, regardless of race, economic status or gender. I hope that this simple reality might one day bring a certain peace – and balance of representation – between all political parties (and I do mean all; the ballot shows us we have more options than an appetizer menu, but it’s still for all intents and purposes a two-party show). I’d hoped that in the meantime we could treat each other with respect and civility, but it doesn’t look likely. While it’s certainly human to feel anger and disappointment – the way in which you express that is governed by your personal self-control and sense of decency. So far, I’ve only seen rage expressed by Mitt fans. I’ve heard a lot about Obama signs being defaced or stolen (both through the media and in my own neighborhood) – but I have not once heard the same about a Romney sign. I’ve been mulling over this phenomenon, trying to get at the root of the reason, and I’ve arrived at this thought: I feel that this is symptomatic of a larger issue that seems to belong to the Republican mindset: fear. Anger may be the symptom, but fear is its first form. Fear and anger bear some nasty fruit. But where does this fear come from? It grows in an environment absent of love (as well as the tolerance that love engenders). Taking someone’s Obama sign off their front lawn is not an act born of love, ya know? You gotta be pretty angry to go and make that happen. Please understand that I by no means think that all Republicans are fear-based vandalizers – (some of my oldest and dearest friends are Republicans!) however I have never heard of equally hate-inspired acts attributed to Democrats.
To many it may seem simplistic, but I believe that the last vestiges of fear (control, hoard, distrust of others, keep to self, save self and those like me) are living under the wing of the Republican party. I also believe the party represents a mindset that will one day in the not-too-distant future become obsolete. This world cannot thrive and grow into a healthy future with fear-based groups controlling her populations. We see this changing in dramatic ways all over the globe, and while it’s perhaps not as overtly apparent here in the US, we too are morhping slowly into a new culture of love and understanding. Our interconnectedness, our diversity, our shared economically-challenged realities – and our brotherly love for each other as fellow citizens of one planet – these things have finally gotten their foothold in our modern world, and we have begun our journey up and out of the mess we’ve made.
One thought on “Election Addendum”
Your comments are quite thoughtful and insightful. Too many people are quick to either deify their favorite candidates and vilify the opposing one, rather than look at the issues and choices realistically. It’s either idolize one and hate the other, or the other way around. “My guy is the savior of America, and your guy is a bum!” No president has the power to solve all problems, nor can he destroy the country. Anyway, I don’t believe that anyone runs for office for the purpose of destroying things. They all want to try to make things better, but some have better plans than others, and some have bad ideas altogether. Did we really have to go to war with Iraq in response to the attack from Afghanistan-based terrorists? That would have been like responding to the attack on Pearl Harbor by invading Australia!
I’ve got some Republican friends, too, so sometimes I have to shrug things off with an “oh well”, too. A friend of mine, who is a Republican, held onto some sort of loyalty to our previous president for several years, taking any criticism of the war as some sort of personal affront. Any time that I questioned the wisdom of our going to war, he told me that I was “naïve”. On the other side of the political spectrum, another friend of mine is a fan of Richard Daley (a Democrat), and cannot bear to hear any comments against who he considers to be the greatest mayor in the world. Even though that mayor is now retired, he continues to idolize him. “Corruption in Chicago? Impossible!” What political loyalists on both sides get wrong is that we the people are not supposed to be loyal to politicians. Rather, the politicians are supposed to be loyal to the people they serve. After all, they are all temporary stewards of governmental powers, and it is their responsibility to make wise decisions, which affect us all.
It seems to me that “statesmen” on both sides of the aisle have been getting us into wars (after all, it is Congress that declares war), spending money like there’s no tomorrow, and borrowing so much money from foreign banks that soon our country could become someone else’s property. Sure, we finally got out of Iraq, but our kids and grandkids will still be paying the bill for that war, long after our illustrious leaders have passed away. “Mission Accomplished”, indeed! I’m a realistic idealist: I’m hoping that we can turn things around, and I remember that we actually did have a balanced budget during the Clinton administration, but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for this to happen again. I’m still hoping, though, that our kids will have a better world than we have now. I want them all to be able to dream and hope for a better tomorrow, too.
You mentioned that we do have more than two choices in each election, but essentially, it’s a two-party show. That’s too bad, because we should have an open microphone for other voices, as well. There were a couple of intelligent candidates for the Libertarians (emphasizing on balancing the budget and getting out of war more quickly) and the Green Party, who spoke of the environmental concerns that the two big-money parties didn’t want to be bothered with. My oldest daughter, who was just old enough to vote for the first time the other week, turned my attention to one the alternative candidates, and it occurred to me that it’s a shame that on all the hours of political commentary on TV, they wouldn’t even mention that there was anyone else on the ballot. Network TV and all the Cable TV news stations gave so much time and attention to those Tea Party extremists, but wouldn’t even mention the other candidates, who actually spoke intelligently about things. Oh well! I’m still hoping that things will get better. At least the campaign season is over, and that’s a good thing.