So, some blogs are harder to write than others, and this one is hard. It’s because I am handing out advice that I just don’t want to take – about something I feel incredibly strongly about – the upcoming presidential election.
You see, I feel that my candidate is the only viable choice of any smart, thinking person, and I can’t imagine anyone I know and respect making any other choice. And yet, people I respect are making the other choice. So I basically have two options here: scream at them to let them know that they are the unthinking people I sincerely feel they are, or shut up. I really really want to scream, but I am choosing to shut up.
Why? Because I am not going to change anyone’s mind and I have no right to try. Who people choose to vote for is based on a deeply-held set of values that won’t change over the course of one election, and may never change. And as this country has gotten increasingly polarized, the differences mount and the ability to actually get someone to shift their beliefs shrink to nothing. So I’m telling you, just let it go now. In the interest of civility, good manners, friendship and peace in our time, let it go.
Who am I voting for? Who do I feel so strongly for? Actually, I’m not going to tell you. We have a secret ballot for a reason. We live under this truly amazing system where we actually have the opportunity to undergo a quiet, private revolution every four years without a shot being fired. (Well, we hope without any shots being fired…) We can literally start over with a new bunch of people if we don’t like the old bunch.
I have a theory that our founding fathers were so tired of the fighting at the end of the revolutionary war that they decided to create a government that allowed this country to begin again every four years without going to war against the current administration. Given the history of the world, that’s a pretty neat trick. And while some other countries have followed suit in their own way, we were the first.
Now, that’s something to be proud about.
And I also have to say that, no matter who you plan to vote for in November, you should be proud of the fact that this country has moved past the time where we are just choosing which white guy would lead us. Our country is changing, faster than we can completely understand. We’ve always been a melting pot, and the mix is getting spicier and more interesting every year. And yes, that’s scary. But in the long run, it’s good.
The more perspectives we have, the more ideas get added to the mix. Some of those ideas will be bad, but some will be good. And some will change the world. And every child born in this country, no matter what race or gender, should be able to grow up believing they could be president someday.
As I look at this upcoming election, I think of the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” Well we do, in spades. And I am looking forward to the end of the election when all of the hoopla is over for another few years. And I want my person to win desperately. But it’s a quiet desperation. Because as important as the decision is to me, keeping my friends is more important. How about you?