just ponderin'

… on ‘we’, the people

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Our flag.

More than once in my life, ‘my’ candidate has lost.

And more than once, I was ‘in’ – big time – for my candidate… was certain the country and world was at risk if he or she (well, however they self-identified) lost.

I have been in the boat of being crushed, and in disbelief, and using the phrase “But this time it REALLY matters!” and watching states threaten to secede and and and… seriously. Been there. Done that.

But it has never occurred to me to dismiss the fact that those on the other side felt just as strongly as I did.

Not once, have I felt the pull toward violence against a side that won, want to beat someone up who voted the way I did not.

And it has never occurred to me to rub a victory in an opposing voter’s face, physically hurt or intimidate them, and tell them their lives – because their views are different from mine – are screwed.

Maybe it is the fact that I am an ‘undeclared’ voter – independent of either party –  that makes it easier for me to have this perspective, but I don’t think so.

Oh, and another thing, I have never… and I can say that truthfully… never… considered an elected president to be ‘not my President’.

Okay, I have said, “Oh shit. This is now our President.” I am not positive all the dang time.

Because this is America, and it’s a pretty cool thing that – when all is said and done – a President is our President. I can be crying that this is so, or proud of him or her (or not) . I can support all their policies, or some, or none – but this is a fact.

Historically, we have done this very well, this peaceful transition. It is one of the hallmarks of our democracy.

And we have watched, in horror, the violent consequences in places on our planet where it is not.

We just had a peaceful election, a lawful election. Someone won, someone lost. And, yes, victory can be sweet, and loss can be painful. But the violence on both sides (yes, both sides), and the gloating as well as the berating… all of which have happened in the past couple of days?

People,

This is the United States of America.

And, in the words of Bob Newhart (as shown to me by a friend recently)…

Stoppit!

Allow me to lump us all together as Americans for a second… because, you know, that’s who we are.

By a huge majority, most humans who voted did not do so for the negatives – and I mean this on both sides.

Most Hillary voters were not voting to get rid of capitalism, or smoosh Christianity. or legalize pay for play.

Most Trump voters were not voting to prevent the first woman from becoming president, or to tear immigrant families apart, or to legalize groping.

They.

Just.

Weren’t.

And I said it that way – sure, with characteristic irreverence – to point out that both sides had major league, passionate views on how devastating it would be if the other candidate got in.

And they were just as considered.

By people who were just as smart.

Please… whether you ‘won’ or ‘lost’… don’t dismiss.

I believe with all my heart, that the people of the United States are – in a huge majority – good and decent people – doing something very similar – every day.

When it comes down to it, we are all living our lives, making the best choices we can.

Understanding each other is kind of important. I mean, if I want to get something done – like nationally – don’t I need your vote too?

Don’t you want mine?

I have no interest in stereotyping one type of voter, or another (or another or another or another, (remember there were more than two candidates)).

I don’t want to hear only one point of view – mine – when I read or watch television or go online… nodding my way toward judgement with ‘my side’ pieces, and dismissing as bunk ‘theirs’.

I have no interest here, or anywhere – including my own brain – in formulating a narrative toward hate or divisiveness… that which makes me feel ‘right’ and puts others in the category of ‘stupid’ or ‘unthoughtful’.

And I am also decidedly not a fan of fear.

It pulls me out of being present, and it paralyzes me from moving forward, getting things done.

It does that to all of us.

I have to wait and see.

We have to wait and see.

When Ronald Regan was elected the first time, the guy got 489 electoral votes and more than 50% of the popular vote.

And there were people who were scared.

And when Barack Obama won in 2008, he got 365 electoral votes and more than 52% of the popular vote.

And there were people who were scared.

And if you just dismissed the people who were scared when Obama was elected as all being racist, you need to stop reading right now. You are missing my point.

And guess what?

Even the supporters of the winners end up not 100 percent happy with what ‘their’ new President does – sometimes by a long shot. Because elected officials can never do everything they say they will (no, not even with their party in majority in both houses of Congress).

President Obama said he’d close Guantanamo Bay (the detention center). He signed an executive order right away, as soon as he became President, to do it.

Still open.

The thing is, there is always going to be someone – a lot of someones or fewer someones – who is scared, disappointed, angry.

Because this is America.

America.

I don’t get to say I am a ‘better’ American than those other Americans just because I think the way I voted is the right way to vote.

It doesn’t really help us to stay in our own bubbles.

If your candidate won, empathize with those whose candidate did not. And try to understand them, for who they are… don’t dismiss.

If your candidate lost, empathize with those whose candidate did. And try to understand them, for who they are… don’t dismiss.

And if you are going to protest – either side (I realize most protests are going to be by the supporters whose candidate was not successful, but not all gatherings will be)… protest for your cause.

For that which you wish to see.

Because America remember? There is always the next opportunity to vote… which means if you want something – an issue heard, platform employed, candidate elected, change enacted… – you have work to do.

Half the country voted one way, half the other. Dismissiveness, cruelty and violence is not the path to being agreed with. It is more likely to put people off. And I’m a big fan of the idea that delegitimizing the ‘other side’ deligitimizes my own.

Voting is how we do things here. People fought and died for our right to it.

Which means we need ‘we’ in America. No way around it.

So lets get out there, whoever our candidates were.

Dust ourselves off.

Open our ears, and eyes, and hearts and hear and see and accept that we are going to have different views and opinions… because ‘melting pot’ means so much more than a combination of personal ancestories and nationalities and religions. It is also a mishmash of mindsets and perspectives and choices and goals and dreams.

This is America people, and folks from around the world are watching.

Let’s show ’em how it’s done.

Thanks for readin’.

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Elena Peters

midlife blogger & pinterest master

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