Election 2016: Time To Look In The Mirror

Image of the United States from space -- (nasa.gov)
Image of the United States from space — (nasa.gov)

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 11/2016

No matter who you voted for, no matter whether you’re happy or not with the result, consider this – The United States is a country horrifically divided. This is not a new situation, but made abundantly clear in the 2016 election season.

On Election Night, about 100 million people voted, about 50 million or so for each candidate.

Meaning that one third of this nation’s population – the people who voted – are split on EVERYTHING from economics to foreign policy to trade to treaties to {pick ANY issue}

And by the way, if you didn’t vote, be quiet. Until the system changes, work within the system we have. Don’t like the system? Work to change it peacefully.

Moving on… This isn’t about Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton or a third party candidate. This is about decades of elections, each one showing more and more how divided this country is. This is not new. Election 2016 just seemed to show it very clearly in glorious HDTV: Elections have become hateful. Draining. Hurtful. Destructive. For 18 LONG months we endure vitriol and bile and mudslinging. And worse.

The candidates HATE each other and go out of their way to DESTROY each other and whatever gets in their way.

Their supporters HATE the supporters of the other candidates.

The news media fans the flames 24/7/365.

The level of CONSTANT negativity is beyond draining – it is DESTRUCTIVE. And we’re all to blame for it. We feed into it. We can’t get enough of it.

United we stand?

Not even close.

Friends, it’s healthy and necessary to have a two party (or more) system: Disagreement, discussion, debate, new ideas, it’s all good – it’s democracy, its advanced civics, we ALL should have a voice. But remember — we are a constitutional republic that elects leaders to speak and work for us. We need to pick candidates we at least LIKE.

So how do we do better?

President John F. Kennedy said, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

We, the citizens, need to look in the mirror.

Whether you’re happy or sad about what happened last week, look at yourself. What can YOU do to make America better? How can YOU summon the future?

Let’s combine the two candidate slogans and say this: America is greater and stronger when we work together.

We resolve to behave better each election season (not just presidential elections but midterms, gubernatorial, local, etc.). We will work to find candidates we like, who we respect. We will stay informed as possible, try to sift fiction from fact, listen to other sides, vote in primaries, and stay involved. We will try to stay open-minded.

We, this country, need to start working together better. Constructively, for the common good. Finding common ground. COMPROMISING. And disagreeing peacefully, without hate, working together some way — any way – to fix what’s broken.

And in the end, after each election, when the PEOPLE have spoken, when the citizens have sent their message — when the VOTERS have spoken, we peacefully transition to a new president.

We support the new leaders but we must remember our sacred responsibility to stay vigilant. We speak up. We write. We call. We blog. Respectfully, non-violently, we keep an eye on the people in charge, because they speak for US. It’s all about US.

The solution lies within US.

Stop with the anger. There has been quite enough of that. Like him or not, voted for him or not, let us give the new president a chance. It’s up to him now to prove he is worthy of the power the voters have bestowed upon him. It’s now HIS job to represent and work for us, and we will all be watching. I’m willing to give him a chance, the benefit of the doubt. Will you?

Remember: We are ALL Americans.

Divided we FALL.

Divided we END.

I love this country. I think you do too.

Our enemies wants us to fail. They want this 240 year experiment in democracy to fail.

Don’t let that happen.

Look in the mirror. And decide, TODAY, the first day of the rest of our lives, what you can and will do to support, and watch over, this country and its leaders. Constructively. Peacefully.

End of Speech. One of these days I’ll go back to being funny.

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