As a daughter of immigrants from an Arab country, I’d say that this election caught my attention. As a Jewish woman, I’d say that this election caught my attention. As the mother of children, I’d say that this election caught my attention. I have never written a blog post about an election, but here I am.
The last 18 months have shown us so much about ourselves. It brought a reluctant candidate to the campaign with only 3 months left. It saw a woman be blamed for her husband and a man not be held accountable for his words, however damaging they were. It saw a spectrum of candidates from both parties fall to the juggernaut of the Press’s first picks. It saw parents have to decide how much of this campaign their children should be exposed to.
It saw supporters of both major party candidates behave in a less than stellar way. It brought out the worst of this miraculous country of ours.
I have not voted for a winning candidate in years, because I would rather vote for someone I can respect (I’m weird like that.) Each election I have been able to vote in, I have. I have participated in the process, and saw the results of what I participated in. Voting is so precious, that I would never squander it.
Now, we have a duly elected president – elect. Just like we have had every cycle since 1789. We are lucky in that we don’t get arrested or punished for expressing our opinions. So many others around the world cannot. We are blessed to have a democratic government that can change every 4 years. Is it perfect? Gawd no. And in that statement lies the explanation of the expression “the goldene medina” the golden country. It is a place of opportunity. One president won’t change that.
My personal choice for President was one of those dreaded third party candidates. Of everyone, he reflected me the most. I hope that he will run again in 2020, and be the force for positive change that he could have been this year.
What positives have come out of this? Interest. Determination. An understanding of just how far apart the different populations in the country are. Today, every person spoke about the election. People in the office. People on the train. Strangers passing on the street. Students. Professors. Children. Grandparents. Everyone was speaking about voter turnout and the importance of drawing together now more than ever. It was beautiful to hear people of all demographics speak with a common goal. In all the conversations I heard, they weren’t speaking in fear. They were having a discussion.
In speaking with someone this morning, I mentioned that I thought that the president-elect is like a shock treatment for us, the citizens of the United States. We’ve become so divided, so angry, so intolerant, with such tunnel vision, that he is like a swallow of vinegar or lemon juice. It’s like we are being told “this is what division brings” and “this is why we can’t have nice things.”
I saw a statistic today that voter turn out for the 18-25 demographic was very low. They were so disgusted and disheartened that they didn’t show up. But my 14 year old son learned what apathy brings: a president that no one expected and what we don’t know what to do with.
So, here is my suggestion. Keep the conversations going. Don’t look at someone else with suspicion or fear. Be the change that you want to see. Reach out to your elected officials, tell them what you expect from your duly elected government. Bring respect back to our opinions. Remember what it means to agree to disagree. Don’t rely on the press for your opinion. Don’t let someone else co-opt you.
Like it or not, we are stuck with him for the next 4 years. Let’s decide that he is a one term president. Let’s decide together to demand better representation in the future. Let’s bring that future now. As a nation, let us acknowledge the pain and anger that got us to this point and work to make it better. This is what I am going to do. I will try to encourage respectful discussions. I will focus on what positives I can find. I will do this in my circle, and you do it in yours. Let’s not be lazy or look for the expedient way of doing things.
In the last 8 years, I have not spoken negatively about our duly elected president. I didn’t like him, nor did I vote for him, but I also didn’t demean, disparage or dishonor the office of the President by criticizing him in front of my children. At the very least, I would expect others to refrain as well for the current president-elect. I have seen some ugly comments out there. If you cannot respect the person, respect the office. It was here before him and will be here after him. Let’s use these 4 years to heal, grow, and repair what is broken.