A good friend of mine called me to tell me of her afternoon with some dear friends of hers celebrating their son's fifth birthday. She and her friends are on opposite sides of the political fence and she was avoiding having the inevitable presidential election conversation, as she knew nothing good would come of it. She was right.
Not only was her friend telling her of his utter disappointment with the president being reelected, but his friends were yelling (yelling!) at her with their frustrations as well. They were pointing their fingers at her as if she were to blame for everything they were complaining about. That she was at fault for the "tragic" ways of the country. When she tried to put things in perspective by explaining that having Mr. Obama reelected was not a tragedy, but an event like 9/11 constitutes a real tragedy, the response she got was "9/11 was just a small blip compared to what Obama is going to do!" Really?? It was then my friend told me she hugged her friend, told him she loved him, but that she needed to leave as she knew nothing she could say was going to make him, or any of his friends, think rationally.
On Election Day on Broadminded we asked listeners to call in and let us know whom they were voting for and why. We had great arguments on both sides letting us know why they wanted President Obama (women's rights) or Governor Romney (time for a change). I love that people are so passionate about their beliefs. I also love that younger generations and first-time voters are getting so involved in politics. What frustrates and upsets me, however, is how divided our country is. How quick everyone is to blame, but nobody is coming up with solutions. What makes this country so wonderful are the values it was built on as well as the freedoms we have; the freedom to come and go as we please, the freedom of speech, and the freedom to choose who we want as our President. Millions of people have come to the United States because of our freedoms. Right there, right on the Statue of Liberty, the gateway to the country, it says "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free".
Until we, as a country, can come together and realize that neither side is completely right, and neither side is completely wrong, until we can try to come together and work as one, then nothing will ever be resolved. I'm tired of the finger pointing, tired of the accusations and tired of the gridlock. If you're not happy with the economy, healthcare, education; if the candidate you voted for didn't win, then you should count your blessings that the country you're fortunate enough to live in allows you the freedom to vote every four years to elect someone new.
I don't believe our country is "going to hell in a handbasket" because of one single man. I also don't believe we got here, good or bad, because of one single man. Perhaps I'm idealistic or look through the world with rose-colored glasses, but I believe in the power of people. And I believe that a group of people with a plan can make a difference. So if you're disappointed about the outcome of the election, don't just sit around with your friends and complain about it, do something! Get involved and make a difference! Use it as a learning experience for your children that just because you may lose one race, there's always another one. Become a community leader. Who knows, maybe some day you can become president.
Governor Romney's concession speech was short and gracious. In his speech, even he said that we, as a country, need to put people before politics. In the president's acceptance speech he also stated that we could seize the future together because we are "not as divided as our politics suggest." Sure it's going to take some work, albeit it a lot of work, for people and opposing parties to come together, but I live on hope and believe it can happen. And whether you agree with me or not in my opinions, count your many blessings because this really is an amazing country.
"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." ~ John F. Kennedy