Keep Calm and Vote
Today is a good day to keep calm, vote, and minimize external stressors. The 2016 US Election season is coming to a close, and tomorrow will begin a new chapter in all of our lives, regardless of the outcome of the election.
This has been a disillusioning one for all of us. The basic principles of integrity, compassion, moral high ground, intelligence and idealizing vision have been left behind. The have been replaced with anger, rancor, devaluing language, innuendo, acrimony, mistruths, lies, and blame/shaming. Our candidates have been locked in an epic battle, reported on unrelentingly by the media.
The media have contributed and fueled the ugliness that our political system has become, and we have lost the ability to report the news without interjecting personal biases, beliefs, likes and dislikes. I so miss Huntley, Brinkley, and Cronkite, and tuning in for news at 11:00 pm, rather than the 24/7 parade of opinions.
Long gone are the ideals upon which our country was founded:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
These have been replaced with circus-try, the three-ring arena of our current political climate. I feel this acutely for myself, and even more so for my daughters, Claudia and Emily, and their generation, their friends, who were catalyzed early on in the election process and then bitterly disappointed, and I am sharing a letter I wrote to them that applies to all of us.
“It is easy in these times to be discouraged, to lose faith, and to feel as if it all doesn’t matter, and that your vote is inconsequential. Your hearts were broken when Bernie didn’t get the nod; and you may feel that you have no one to vote for or that you are forced to vote for someone you didn’t choose, like getting the last dish available on the conveyor belt.
I feel your pain and your discouragement, and I want to reach out and hug you. While doing so, I would whisper in your ear, “Don’t give up hope, and please don’t give up your vote. Although it may not change the outcome today, it just might. You don’t want to go to sleep tonight or wake up tomorrow with a hint of regret or any thoughts of “if only.” This is how a lot of people woke up in England on June 23rd, stunned that Brexit passed. That day, the unthinkable became a reality.
I cannot and would not ever tell you how to vote, as this is one of your unalienable rights. I am, though, asking you to vote. To exercise that right that is really more precious to you than getting your driver’s license. And to remember those stunning and moving words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Your vote can be the first act of altering our broken government, and be the foundation upon which we take the next steps to hold our government accountable. It is our right and our obligation as citizens, and if we don’t exercise this, we all lose.
So be bothered and upset and go and vote. Wear your sticker (or not) and don’t take a selfie in the booth (thanks, Justin Timberlake, for the head’s up on this).
The revolution of a generation begins with a single vote.”
For all of us today in America, take the time to vote, and in the process, be kind and generous, and don’t forget to breathe.