This blog is written for family, friends, and colleagues. Others are certainly welcome to read this, but it is written to and for people who know me personally.
I assume that all of you who are US citizens will be voting between now and November 8.
I also assume that nothing I say at this point will change how you vote.
The question/topic of this post is, “How are each of us going to act on November 9?
From personal communication or social media posts I know that some of you disagree (perhaps even strongly) with my voting decision for president which I explained in my previous post, “Government”.
Neither Donald nor Hillary nor any of their surrogates have ever bothered to meet with me personally to explain their past performance or opinions. Because of this, I have no first-hand knowledge of what either candidate is really like or what they have or have not done in the past. Like you, I rely on my media sources for facts and opinions to help me make my voting decisions. Like you, I have to guess what might change if one or the other is elected.
We all have different sources and see the facts differently and I am not going to enter into a “my sources are better than your sources” or “my critical thinking is better than yours” discussion.
We do, however, have first-hand knowledge of each other, having interacted personally at various junctions in our lives. From these personal experiences I do know that all of you reading this are basically good people who care about others, your country, and mankind.
Some of you reading this are to the left of Bernie, some of you sit in chairs on the far right side side of the room.
I have a pretty good idea about how the election will come out but I could be dead wrong, as could any of you. There will be lots of unhappy people no matter who wins.
My concern is how are we going to treat each other once the dust has settled after the election.
What, if anything, should I say or do differently if I am correct? What, if anything, should I say or do differently if my candidate looses?
To me, family, friendship, basic civility, and the reality we see in our daily real-world lives is more important than the outcome of the election and all the hype surrounding it. There is a surreal “otherworld” feeling I get when I see election coverage or rhetoric that is counter to what I experience in my interactions with real people in everyday life which I have talked about in my previous post titled “America.”
What I fear is the continued demonizing of others we know who do not agree with us politically. If we fall prey to those whose interests are furthered by creating fear and hatred via a “we vs they”/black or white” dynamic, we could all go down together. The idea of a house divided against itself not being able to stand is as true now as it was in Greek mythology (Aesop), The Bible (Jesus), or US History (Patrick Henry, Lincoln).
Some of you are likely thinking, “Jim, you sound pretty naive saying, ‘Why can’t we all just get along?’”
Call me naive then, because as overused as this phase is, it does make perfect sense to me that treating each other in our personal lives with kindness and respect regardless of the other person’s political views is the first and most important step we can take personally to make things better.
On November 9, the day after our election, I plan to focus on the reality that I see in my daily contact with others with whom I come in contact personally. I will still watch TV, surf the Internet, and read my newspapers and magazines to have a wider perspective and context. However, regardless of how they may have voted, I will try to interact with the people I personally know and love based on what they actually do in their lives, not on assumptions of their motives derived from their political point of view.
We would all do well to head the words of Satchmo in his classic,“What a Wonderful World”:
The colors of the rainbow,
So pretty in the sky.
Are also on the faces,
Of people going by,
I see friends shaking hands.
Saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying, “I love you”.