GratiTuesday: What my mother didn’t live to see

Eight years ago, when we elected our first African American president, my jubilation was tempered a bit with sadness because my mother didn’t live to see it happen. She would have been in awe of the historic event and immensely proud of her country.

From as early as I can remember, my mother was politically involved. She was passionate about women’s rights, racial equality, and the environment. Before I was old enough to enter kindergarten, she took me along with her to League of Women Voters meetings. Later, we marched together in anti-war demonstrations. Our family often discussed current events and world affairs at the dinner table.

But, as much as she loved the politics of courage and optimism, she loathed the politics of fear and division. She was a proud member of the Democratic Party, but she had plenty of Republican friends and always enjoyed a healthy, respectful debate.

Respectful, being the key word.

She wouldn’t put up with vulgarity, hateful rhetoric, or hurtful comments. Someone who disparaged others for their religion, sexual orientation, or their ethnicity would never have been tolerated. Negative remarks about a person’s looks or abilities would have been rebuffed. She definitely wouldn’t have put up with anyone making fun of someone’s disability.

And, she would never have invited a bully or a bigot into her home.

Although I miss my mother terribly, in many ways I am grateful that she didn’t live to see who we’ve invited to stay in our nation’s house.

 

Just like my friend Kate ended her post today about the election…

“Comments are closed. It’s time to heal” (and I think I may have a long way to go).

GratiTuesday: T.G.I.F.

Thank God it’s Finished!

election

This long slog of an election cycle has been going on since November 2014, when Jim Webb, former US Senator from Virginia, was the first candidate to form an exploratory committee for a possible run for president. On March 5, 2015, Mark Everson, a former Commissioner of Internal Revenue, formally announced his candidacy for the presidential nomination of the Republican Party (remember him?).

I have no idea why the presidential election cycle in the United States is so long and drawn out, but other, seemingly more reasonable countries, appear to have a much better handle on things. For instance, on Aug. 2, 2015, Canada dissolved its Parliament, clearing the way for new elections in October OF THE SAME YEAR. The campaign — all 78 days of it — was an unusually long one for the country.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling completely beaten up and played out. The presidential race was unusually rancorous and mean – even for the US, and we’ve had some pretty nasty campaigns in our history. Even before the two major party’s candidates were chosen, verbal venom, bullying remarks, and vailed innuendos were traded among candidates from the same party.

Worse – because political candidates are, sadly, expected to act like 6-year-olds – was the ugliness among partisans and found on social media. Insults were thrown around without regard for their targets, friends were attacked and unfriended, and falsehoods were passed off as truths.

Tonight, one of the candidates will prevail. I did not use the word “win” because I don’t believe there will be a true winner this year. The person who gets the most Electoral College votes can start making plans to occupy the White House. The person who doesn’t get the required votes will need to decide what his or her next steps will be.

I very much hope that my candidate will succeed and I will be very apprehensive if the other candidate prevails. But, either way, I am concerned most for our country. The wounds that we’ve suffered won’t heal easily and the ugliness that we’ve witnessed won’t soon be forgotten. I’m afraid that they will continue long into the future and, if they do, they could threaten to split us at our core.

I am grateful that this election is over, but – either way the vote goes – I am worried about the results.