This is the closest to politics you're gonna get from me...
A good friend of mine came out to watch Sydney's softball game a week or so ago and the first thing he did was plop beside me and say, "So, who you voting for?" Perhaps this might sound like a normal question to get from a good friend, but this friend knows that he and I differ quite a bit on a bunch of issues. It seems to bother him to no end that I am an intelligent person and yet I wouldn't always vote for the same person he would. It's as if he takes some sort of perverse pleasure in goading me on, or that he really does want to know my opinion because he is so baffled by it.
I, stupidly, took his bait and actually tried to talk reasonably to him about a couple of issues. I'm actually torn by a number of them and tried to explain to him the different sides to different issues and different candidates. He is so single-minded that it was hard, I think, for him to see why someone might actually see the good and bad on both sides.
After a little while, I had to tell him it was time to stop. He's a friend and I don't really like getting frustrated with him. As we finished our conversation, Gary walked over and sensed what we were talking about. He just laughed and shook his head and said, "I don't know why you guys even go there." Our friend then said, "What I don't get is how you and Cheryl can stay married. If [his wife] and I disagreed on politics, I don't think I could be married to her."
Gary and I, you see, disagree on a number of issues and we have "cancelled" each other's votes out more than once. We've also voted for the same candidates several times, and I think we've learned to appreciate each other's differences. Gary knows where I come from; I know where he comes from. We appreciate each other's intelligence and we respect each other. (We just know when enough is enough and when to stop talking to each other. LOL)
Later in the evening, Gary and I were talking about it and I think he nailed it on the head. If we had different religious beliefs, that would be a problem. There are differences big enough to cause problems in a relationship--things that are essential to who we are. Politics is not one of those things. "In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter," he said. ("Besides," Gary added, "that's why we have a secret vote. You don't have to tell anyone who you're voting for if you don't want to.")
And this, my friends, is where I think we have a problem in our country right now.
We are so divided that we can't stop and realize that pretty much everyone wants what's best for our country. We just have different ways of saying it; different ways of trying to achieve it. Instead of understanding that, we have to question each other's intelligence (or lack thereof) or, worse still, our patriotism. Both candidates have weaknesses, both candidates have strong points. If they didn't have failings and weaknesses, they wouldn't be human. If they didn't have strong points, they wouldn't have made it so far in the race. (And, let's face it...politicians are politicians are politicians are politicians, no matter how you slice it.)
I get so sick of hearing one group of supporters call the other one the equivalent of the "devil" ... and then hearing the other group of supporters do the same thing. Make your decision based on how you feel about that person's platform ...don't believe everything you read or watch in the media..don't believe everything you get in some crazy email... use your brain (and not emotions) to make your decision...and then don't feel like you should go out and claim that any person who might choose to vote differently than you is an imbecile.
But if there's one thing we can all agree one it's that you should absolutely go VOTE. It's your right as an American to disagree with your spouse if you want to; it's your right as an American to think whatever you want to about a particular issue; it's your right as an American to work hard for a candidate or to remain ambivalent; but it's your obligation as an American to VOTE.
And this is where my aforementioned friend would probably also be baffled by my election day and election season behavior. No matter who I'm voting for, or who I think might win (even if it's different from who I'm voting for), I get a huge rush going to vote. I usually sorta dance into the polling place, realizing what a very cool honor it is to get to do so.
And then I watch the election returns and am fascinated by the process....that this huge process works on such a grand scale. And then I watch the winner announced and the loser conceeding, and I'm amazed at how it runs smoothly every time with no violence.
And then I watch the inauguration and listen to the speech, and I'm amazed every time no matter what person is standing there. I'm always in awe of the process and the fact that we...despite our failings....make it happen. I don't cry all day if my candidate doesn't win...I don't worry that we're "going to hell in a handbasket." If my candidate is up there on stage, it's a good feeling, but it's not one of gloating. I realize that whoever is president now has a huge job ahead of him and that he probably would appreciate my good thoughts and prayers more than anything.
I'm just amazed by how it all works out. And I sorta wish that more people in this country could feel the same way about it.
that's as close to politics as you're gonna get from me. (So don't ask me again. And if you disagree...tough!...it's not like we live in a free country or anything! LOL)