Tag Archives: respect

My Election Reflection


This is not going to be my most popular post.

Like most things I write about, I expect some people will totally get where I’m coming from, while others won’t get me at all. That’s one of the beautiful things about life–we’re not all cut from the same cloth. How terribly boring and stagnant it would be if we were.

I once wrote that this never was nor will be a blog about politics. I hope you’ll forgive me for making an exception during this tumultuous time.

For well over a year, I’ve followed the course of events that led up to this most recent presidential election. I watched the debates, read countless articles and took in the some of the sound bytes shared on television and social media. My family, friends and I discussed our thoughts, beliefs and reactions when it came to the various candidates. I voted in my party’s primary. And I voted in the general election, as I have done every year since I turned eighteen.

My candidate for president lost. Actually, she was my second choice. She might have even fallen to third or fourth place if any of the parties had put up more candidates worth considering.

But it’s hardly the first time I’ve voted for the losing candidate. Hell, my presidential choices have lost more elections than won, which makes me think, maybe it’s me, maybe I jinx them. But whatever, I digress.

My vote was primarily based on the positivity, and on what I believed to be the more down to earth and inclusive platform, of one candidate, versus what I saw as the childish, petty, mean-spirited–sometimes even vicious–and uninformed positions voiced by the other candidate. I voted with both my head and my heart. And I voted for the person I thought would be the better leader for all of us, not just me personally.

So my candidate lost, and frankly, I’m not happy about it (OK, that’s an understatement). Like anyone who feels justified in her beliefs and feelings, and like anyone who has suffered a loss, I need a little time to process and heal.

But I’m not being given that time. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with gloating posts (ha ha, go ahead and move to Canada, see if we care) and lectures on how “the nation has spoken” and how I need to grow up, unite and sing kumbaya for the president-elect–the very man who has spent nearly a year and a half pitting us against one another.

I’m just not prepared to do that just yet. And, depending on what he does going forward, I may never get behind him.

That is my choice and my right as an American.

Look, for eight years I’ve watched, read and listened to hate-filled, anti-Obama rhetoric, including the place of birth falsehoods repeatedly voiced by our current president-elect. Their hostility, animosity and loathing bothered me, but frankly the Obama-haters were entitled to their opinion, and I am a firm believer in our First Amendment right of freedom of speech. Never once did I even anonymously jump into one of those online discussions and tell them to shut the f**k up. I just took the high road and didn’t engage with them.

Why can’t I, and the rest of the pro-Hillary and/or anti-Trump voters, be afforded the same leeway?

No, we’re being told that election protesters should be jailed (which, for those who are destroying property or engaging in physical violence, I would agree) and that we need to get over it or be viewed as unpatriotic (as if the vile name calling and rants done during the Obama administration was patriotic?). We are being told to put our rights on hold for at least the next four years.

Not only am I not prepared to do that, I refuse.

Sure, I am terribly unhappy with the candidate who won this election. I have been repulsed by his foul attitude towards women, his intolerance towards non-Caucasians, his mockery of those with physical challenges, and his flippant references promoting violence to those who didn’t agree with him throughout his campaign. I am actually embarrassed that he won.

But I’m not going to pin blanket, puerile labels on our president-elect either. And I’m not going to engage in pointless discussions where ideals and facts dissolve into hostile accusations and derisive put downs.

Just don’t count on me to simply fall in line with where this administration might lead us. Or tell me that my only other alternative is to move to Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal or Mexico City. While you won’t find me standing in the streets shouting slogans, you also won’t find me passively accepting policy decisions that go against my values.  

Like I said in the beginning, it’s a beautiful thing that we’re not all cut from the same cloth. I simply won’t stand for policies that will rip us apart, either.

The Real Reality


“We’re trying to elect a new president. Let’s not turn that into a reality TV show.” ~ Former Secretary of State Colin Powell

This is not, and never will be, a blog about politics. But I overheard the above comment the other day, and I felt compelled to write about it.

I couldn’t have said what’s been bothering me lately any better myself. Not just when it comes to the Republican party presidential candidates’ mud-slinging fest thinly disguised as debates and campaign speeches—no, this isn’t just about the size of one’s hands, how much one perspires, or whether or not it’s politically correct for a candidate to use a name-calling term that gets bleeped on TV or *****’d in print.

No, the rantings of these—ahem—“gentlemen” are simply an exacerbation of what I’ve seen is an increasingly disturbing trend in American culture.

We have become a nation of increasingly mean-spirited, rude, obnoxious bullies. At least that’s what is getting played out in the news and, quite often it seems, in my personal experience.

And in my opinion it all boils down to one thing: a lack of respect. For our planet. For differing opinions. For each other.

I see this lack of respect in the garbage that lines so many of our highways or skitters in the breeze across city street corners.

I see it in comments on media websites, where people wrap themselves in anonymity and the American flag and hurl insults at anyone who dares post an opposing viewpoint.

Similarly, I see it in replies on Facebook, where contempt and aspersion often supplant thoughtful discourse.

This lack of respect plays out when hecklers refuse to let political candidates speak, protesters picket soldiers’ funerals, and frat boys think it’s hilarious to sexually abuse inebriated co-eds, and actually videotape the experience.

I could go on and on with examples, but that’s really not the point of this post.

Because, despite all the evidence to the contrary, I truly believe that the majority of Americans are inherently good—that we hold doors open for each other, are quick to open our wallets to support a victim or a cause, find pleasure when we remember to do little random acts of kindness towards one another, and root for underdogs, especially when their nemeses are bullies.

I believe that the majority of us really wish we knew how to solve our country’s complex social issues, from homelessness to addictions, domestic violence to gun violence, animal cruelty to “–isms” of all kinds.

It’s just that we don’t know how. Or those issues simply overwhelm us. Or we’re not sure where to start, or which one to tackle first with our limited time, energy and financial resources.

But here’s the thing: simply knowing and believing that we comprise the majority is a start.

Then taking that belief in the basic decency of the majority, and using that belief to fuel us, to strengthen us, and to not let the bullies get us down.  To show each other, and our world, just how much that acting out of caring and respect can do.

From that source of strength, that conviction that there are more of us than them, we can use our talents and limited resources to create positive ripples in our society—ripples that can turn into waves of progress, enthusiasm, perseverance and success. We can feed off of and strengthen each other, rather than let the bottom feeders continue to drain us.

Interestingly enough, in a prior post, I wrote, “Indeed, I’m no Pollyanna.” And maybe that’s true. Or maybe that character has gotten a bad rap over the years, has come off as shallow, a lightweight. Now I think that it can’t hurt to inject some of that character’s indomitable optimism into my actions and outlook. It certainly feels better, lighter, than the alternative.

And while the mainstream media continues to focus on what is wrong with this country, we can take our stories to the internet—through social media, YouTube, our blogs, and new online platforms that seem to be springing up on a daily basis. Through these channels we can show the world what the majority of Americans are really like.

So what do you think? Do you think I’m being naïve here, to believe what the collective good can accomplish if we put our hearts, minds and talents into it? Or do you, too, think that it’s not only possible, but entirely doable—and if so, how?

I would love to hear your comments and opinions on this particular post, as I feel it’s the most important one I’ve written since I kicked off this blog in January.

In the meantime, I wish you a fantastic day and week.