Monday, October 10, 2016
What Can We Change in a Presidential Election?
This presidential campaign is a long haul, and many of us feel it's become one of the most disturbing election cycles ever in terms of choices and civility. Those of us who find it so would like change for the better, right now. But what change can we realistically expect?
Not one day since he walked down that Trump Tower escalator has Donald Trump become more qualified or suitable to be president of the United States. Not one day since Hillary Clinton announced for the 2016 campaign has her reputation, overshadowing her experience, become less tainted by at least some of her actions.
These candidates won't change, not much. And I, for one, am unhappy with them both. I, for one, am dismayed to find us here. I, for one, have been upset about the choices we now have for leading our country in the next four to eight years, upset with those who defend the indefensible to get them elected. At times extreme frustration and even anger have gotten the better of me. It's been hard not to be ugly.
But now we must vote for one of the few candidates on our ballots, write someone in who cannot win, or vote down-ticket only. (I don't consider not voting at all viable.)
What we can change before then, though, is us. We can change our own ugly. We can treat others with dignity and respect when we're dismayed or even angered by the political opinions they dare to share, even as we share our own according to beliefs and convictions we hold dear.
We can change how we react to the onslaught of “breaking news” that feeds our angst or fear, not burying our heads in the sand, but not allowing an accumulation of excited pundit-ing to weigh us down or veer us off course to a land without reason.
We can change how we pray for our country—in faith, not merely throwing up our hands in despair now that the election is "out of control," fraught with behavior that is never right. (If you have little or no faith, you can at least choose hope.) We can do whatever we can to make a difference for those who need a difference made, according to whatever others-centered beliefs and convictions inform the votes we cast. We can continue to be grateful because in this country we can vote.
This election is a serious matter. May I say it's hard? But what we can change, without a doubt, without a single vote, is us. What I can change is me.
photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=66377&picture=single-figure-on-the-beach