You know, I had all these wonderful thoughts about the election last night as I was trying desperately to come down off the wave of pride I was riding after President Obama was declared the winner of the yesterday’s election. I even had some pretty good ones this morning, despite the fact that I was ridiculously tired and felt like I’d been hit by a campaign bus.
But now? Now that I have the time to sit down and compose said thoughts into a coherent blog post?
Yeah, not so much.
Seymour and I had planned to spend last night watching The American President instead of election coverage, but by the time he got home, Tomcat already had the news on. He was very interested in the election process and wanted to watch the results come in. I wish I could have taken him with me when I went to vote last night after work, but he was with his dad after school. Cricket and Thumper came with me, but they’re a little bit young to appreciate the significance of what it means to vote for the leader of your country freely and without fear of reprisal.
Each election cycle seems to be more vicious than the one before and, frankly, I’m tired of the backbiting and negativity that has come to dominate politics over the course of the last decade. All of the Tea Party politics in particular really frighten me.
I remember growing up that my parents were staunch Republicans. When Bill Clinton won the election *shudder* twenty years ago, I remember my sister and I giving our television raspberries for ten minutes because we were so disgusted that a Democrat had won the race. Cut us some slack; I was eight and she was six at the time. We weren’t exactly savvy political scientists. All we knew was that our parents’ candidate had lost, so the other guy must be the devil. And yeah, it kinda hurt to look at the screen after that, until we dried it off.
I live in a strongly Republican area and have always identified with the Republican party. Yet, as I get older, I find my political identity moving further and further to the left side of the political spectrum. This is not to say that I’m becoming an extremist, but that I seem to find myself stuck in the middle of the road, stuck without a party that I can support 100%.
Both candidates in yesterday’s election had some good ideas about how to run our country, but for me, the choice was a simple one. I cast my vote for President Obama because four years ago, I thought he could do a good job. I was ecstatic when he was elected, and incredibly disheartened by the attitudes of those Congressional representatives who declared it their mission to ensure he was a one-term president.
I had serious reservations about a Republican president’s willingness to put politics aside and work across the aisle to do what needs to be done for the good of the country and not just for the good of the GOP. I feared for my husband’s job, I dislike the spirit of warmongering that the Republican Party seems to have adopted over the last ten years, and I disagreed with many of their social aims as well.
However, I don’t agree with all of the Democrats’ ideas. Both parties, both candidates, have good ideas about how to fix the mess this country is in and I think if they could work together, lead by example, perhaps something could be done. I was inspired by President Obama’s message of hope and change four years ago; I hope it will carry through his second term and that we will not have four years of more of the same.
But all the negativity that has surrounded the campaign has not been limited to politicians. Regular folks, the constituents, on both sides, have been getting in on the act over the last 24 hours. Our whole country has so much healing to do. Let’s not let this election, a historic one in so many ways, divide us.
I read a quote from John Adams a while back on Goodreads. I was looking up something else he’d said when I came across this gem about his relationship with Thomas Jefferson. Evidently, theirs was one of the most vicious election battles in U.S. history in terms of negativity. Here’s what he had to say about President Jefferson:
I do not believe that Mr. Jefferson ever hated me. On the contrary, I believe he always like me: but he detested Hamilton and by whole administration. Then he wished to be President of the United States, and I stood in his way. So he did everything that he could to pull me down. But if I should quarrel with him for that, I might quarrel with every man I have had anything to do with in life. This is human nature….I forgive all my enemies and hope they may find mercy in Heaven. Mr. Jefferson and I have grown old and retired from public life. So we are upon our ancient terms of goodwill. -John Adams
Let us hope that we all may be upon terms of goodwill with our enemies one day.
(c) 2012. All rights reserved.