Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Election: It's Not About the Candidates

Every four years.  Every four years I dread what's coming.  No, not leap year.  Election year.  At a time when our country is supposed to come together and discuss what would be best for our future, we see the worst...of ourselves.  Of our culture. And of our society.  And for someone who already tends to be anxious, seeing constant hate, slander, and discourse is pretty close to torture.  A year long of everything that makes my anxiety rise. A year of waiting for it all to end so we can all move on and regain the best parts of our humanity.

This is not about this year's candidates.  Or their policies. Or even their indiscretions.  This is about US. OUR behavior towards each other. OUR decision to name call, ruin relationships, and allow hate to spew from our mouths, over a difference of opinion: A different perspective.  What other way is there?  We could listen to "opposing" views, try to see the other side, and engage in intelligent conversation with the main objective of understanding.  We could agree to disagree. Cast our ballot and go on with our lives. Instead of listening to respond.  Instead of having a conversation simply to prove "our side" is correct.

And what's the worst part of election year? That even when votes are counted and the decision is made, it is still not over.  It seems the hate and divide between sides seems to spike instead of resolve. For our country to change, it's much less about which candidate wins and much more about how WE change.  As a nation. As a mass. As a culture. If we want the country to be better, WE need to be better.  And that can start today.  So if your candidate won, please be gracious.  If your candidate lost, it's time to accept it and hope for the best.  Stay engaged. Stay involved. But do so in a manner that shows respect for everyone. Not just those who agree with you.

Being celebratory or disappointed is understandable.  But our country can not become a better place, it can not be "great again," if we continue to turn into uncontrollable, erratically emotional versions of ourselves every four years.  We have only ourselves to blame for how intense this election year has been.  We need to forget the "us" verses "them" mentality that seems to be so ingrained in our ways.  We need to start working together to come as one. We need to understand that acting out with anger and hate only fuels the fire of tearing this country down. Tearing ALL OF US down.

But somehow, every four years I have hope.  Hope that this time we will act as one nation.  That this year we will show the best parts of ourselves instead of the worst.  That this year we won't resort to trying to break each other inorder to support the candidate we like.  That this time America will demonstrate how truly great it is.

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