Are We There Yet? Where To Now……

10 Nov

So where do I begin….

Tuesday’s election was a difficult night for some of us. I had a candidate that was expected to win who lost by 8 points, a Presidential candidate who won my county but lost in the country wide race and a score of other candidates across my state that I thought were good, qualified candidates who were defeated.

When faced with all those loses and then Facebook and Twitter feeds fill with conflicting viewpoints – it takes a bit to find your center.

It’s like a bad divorce among your group of friends – people pick sides and forget that we were a family once. They are attacking and blaming but I still have hope.

We did have a peaceful election (no National Guard or bombing of polling locations) and we ended up with an interesting mix of a Republican House, a Democrat Senate and an incumbent Democrat President.

The night of the election, one friend’s post was the place I kept coming back to:

“Tomorrow, half of the nation will be disappointed that their candidate lost. There is nothing left to do now but to pray….for civility, for reconciliation, for respect for our fellow Americans. Holding a grudge, promising revenge, harboring anger, personally attacking the other side will do nothing to move our country forward. We want our political leaders to put aside their differences in Washington and look out for the best interest of our country; I put those same high expectations on the way each of us lead our individual lives. So, spew your hate (including excessive mean-spirited celebration) elsewhere – I’m putting you on notice. I expect more from us, and you should too.”

– Kate Zaner Williams

Gayla and I started this project because we wanted things to get better, to help others see that there is common ground, that if we are going to make this country move into its next phase we need to be a team.

We are at a crossroads in this country – not a crossroads of right and left – but a crossroads of acceptance or separation.

The other political party is not BAD – we may not agree but they are not the devil.

According to lots of talking heads, writers and party leaders – The Republican party is going to have to do some soul searching. I agree. There are many in the party that believe we lost the presidential race because Mitt was not conservative enough. I disagree with that theory. We lost the presidential race and several others because the ultraconservative voices in the party forgot that they are the minority – that we live in a world of blending.

My generation has grown up to believe that divorce is common, love is universal regardless of race, orientation or age, the globe is getting smaller and that America is the place of choice and freedom. We have blended families and friends from all walks of life. We make our choices based on personal experiences not party ideology. Many of us are Republicans because we are small business owners and want the opportunity to succeed on our own. Many of us are Democrats because we believe in a government that can and should help people.

As we forge through the next few years the parties must find common ground and improve our country – if we continue down this road of demonizing the other guy we will get NOWHERE.

Each of us has a choice now. Do we pack up our tent and go home because it does not seem to matter what we say or do; do we change party because our team is losing and we must be wrong if we are losing; do we say it’s not our fault or the other party cheated; OR do we find ways to bring about the principles we espouse, work within our parties to bring about change, and make sure we are an active part of shaping this country.

I have struggled with many of these topics over the last few days and I have decided to re-engage in the process because if I do nothing, I am allowing the gridlock and name calling to continue. I am going to work within the party by supporting candidates that are like minded to me, to pray for reconciliation within our country and to hope that we never forget to listen more than we speak.

Being an engaged citizen is similar to good parenting. It takes work, being willing to deal with messy things and doing one more thing for the betterment of others when you are exhausted but you know it has to be done.

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