What will I do when November 9th arrives? Aside from being glad that campaign commercials will be over, not much will change. Specifically, what I will do will reflect who I am and what I believe. Election day is one of the most consequential days in the life of this country. Here’s what will happen.
I will accept the results of the election as certified by the state officials who have that responsibility.
I’m an American, and I’m a patriotic one at that. We live in a big country with lots of people, and there are attempts to sway elections at the ballot box that aren’t honest, or consistent with our values. But our history is one of integrity at the voting booth that is unmatched anywhere else in the world, and there’s no reason, especially with the way elections are monitored now, to believe that the few instances of voter fraud or error which are inevitable when more than a hundred million people vote, will have any effect on the outcome of this election.
The privilege of voting, and the peaceful transfer of power, are two of the most basic elements of American democracy, and American greatness. True patriotism is rooted in these elements. If you are a patriotic American, and you love your country, you accept these results, understanding that you will have multiple opportunities for your voice to be heard, every time the ballot box comes out, at every level. The four year term for a President, nestled between the two years for house members and six for the Senate, means that people speak directly to the federal government every two years. Talk of secession, taking up arms, “rigged” elections and “taking back” the country are the words of the selfish, not those of patriots. Patriots work within the principles of the system to bring about change and make things better, they don’t destroy it when they don’t get their way.
I will still love and care about people without qualification.
Your relationship with me is not dependent on your political perspective. My personal principles and values are rooted in my Christian faith. “If anyone says, ‘I love God.’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen.” And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love his brother. I John 4:20-21. And you can figure out who your “brother” is by taking a look at the way Jesus defined that term.
I’ve deleted a plethora of junk and trash from my social media accounts this election cycle. When it pops up on its own, it’s easy to get rid of, but when people share stuff that’s been posted elsewhere, it’s not as easy. The list of slanted media sites that I’ve blocked on Facebook alone takes up three cyberpages, and that doesn’t count Twitter or LinkedIn. But I haven’t unfriended a single person, or deactivated a single link because I don’t agree with someone’s candidate choices. I’ve entered into a lot of discussions, respectfully, I hope. I do my “homework,” and I try to find the facts, rather than the spin. I believe that living in peace with each other, a Christian principle by the way, transcends those things that are not as important.
I will not engage in name calling, rejection, hatred, or any kind of disparaging comment toward those who didn’t see things the way I do. I believe that we all must work together to keep our country great, and that we’re at a point where, as citizens, we need to demand that our representatives end gridlock, and think about the people they represent.
Spend an afternoon on 14th St. NW, in Washington, DC. Walk the whole distance from Thomas Circle to Columbia Heights. It’ll take a while. Count how many different languages you hear, how many people from different ethnic backgrounds you encounter, how many different ethnic food restaurants you pass. That’s the essence of this country. People can be who they are. They may be completely different from you, think differently, act differently, worship differently and speak differently, but they are still Americans. The constitution guarantees your individuality and rights, as it does theirs.
Christians who have a mandate to share the hope that they have are going to find it difficult to get a hearing, much less engage in a relationship with people who sense that they are despised and rejected because they don’t share the same political perspective.
I will not “take my football and go home,” or try to make a mess because I didn’t get my way. I will continue to advocate for the things in which I believe.
I’m proud to be an American, and I love my country. It’s an appreciation for the life I’ve had, and for the freedom I enjoy. I don’t expect the government to be perfect, but I expect it to be responsive. I would never do anything that would undermine our democratic republic, or endanger our freedoms, like threatening to use arms to “take out” a government I didn’t like, or advocate for states to “secede,” or even civil disobedience.
I don’t believe that America needs to be made great again, because I think it is already great, and that is a concept that doesn’t depend one whit on who is President, or who is in Congress. It depends on Americans, and what we do. Whining and complaining is a privilege that has to be earned by more than just participation at the ballot box. Apathy and disinterest are enemies, and deciding not to get involved because you don’t like what is happening, or you don’t think you can make a difference is a cop out, and its selfish.
I’ve been given a privilege, related to my job, over the past three years that has put me in direct contact with state senators and representatives, and with congressmen and senators. These are people just like the rest of us. They put on their pants one leg at a time, or their panty hose. And most of them, regardless of their political position, are good people with a heart for public service. Granted, some are self serving. But for the most part, the people who really make a difference are willing to take the risk that what they do might not be the most popular thing, or that their ideas differ to the point where they must give up votes to stay true to their convictions. Let talk radio deejays go to the gutter with the name calling, the rest of us need to take the high road.
I believe in this country’s future. I believe in our constitution and our government, and I believe that its authority comes from the people. The only threat we face regarding our existence is from within. No politician is ever going to make a difference if the people aren’t willing to think and act for themselves. “If it is to be, it is up to me.”