Monday, October 24, 2016

It's Almost Over

My absentee ballot for this year's general election.

Greetings All:

I just noticed it has been about six weeks since I last posted.  I'll spare you all the litany of excuses why I haven't written for a while and instead, simply say:  It wasn't enough of a priority.  

Yah, and um, what is going on in the world...let's see?

Well, first the good news:  The Cubs won the pennant.  Yes, that's right, for the first time in seven decades, The Chicago Cubs are playing in the World Series.  Although I am clearly a bandwagon fan, I am happy for all my fellow Cubs fan friends.  Last night, we were in our friends' backyard and they had the game on the big screen, projected onto a screen.  It was fun to watch.  And far more fun to watch my friends revel in the joy of the moment.  If Iowa ever goes undefeated and wins the National Championship, I know I'll feel the same way.

There is the little matter of winning the next few games.  And Cleveland is no slouch as a team this year.  Still, here's where I stand on who I think is gonna win...

My $10.00 wager on the Cubs winning it all from the sports book at my favorite Vegas hotel.

The other big thing we're all dealing with is the election.  This has been a particularly brutal election.  I read something today about how nasty the 1828 election was.  I was going to link to it but cannot find it.  And then again, that was then, this is now.

We've got our own problems.

Here's my two-cents on this election:  

1.  It will be over soon (thank God); and
2.  We will be OK, whoever wins.

I get it that people are upset about the choices, the issues, the circumstances...the bullshit.  (I do not think I have ever used profanity in my blog before, yet I cannot think of a more appropriate or accurate word to describe what is going on with our body politic.  Sigh.

I have not gotten too deep in the weeds about politics on this blog.  Maybe that is one of the reasons I have not written much on my blog.  I suppose it is one way I have avoided the elephant defecating in the room.  But here it is.

And since it is with us, I should make it clear that I do have a horse in this race and it is not the gentlemen from New York.  Based on the latest polling, it is pretty damn clear that Trump, like the Dodgers last night, is down to a handful of outs.  According to The New York Times, Clinton has a 93% chance of winning.  Here's the link.

As I commented on a friend's Facebook wall, this is NOT the time for those on side of HRC to take a victory lap/spike the ball/fill in the blank about talking shit about this win.  

Although I am glad it appears one Donald J. Trump will not be President, this is not without the clear recognition that many, many (that's code for tens of millions) of my fellow citizens are voting for him.

And before anyone jumps down my throat and calls them all members of the alt-right or "deplorables," they are far from it.  They are tax-payers, active/reserve duty members of our Armed Forces, Veterans, civil servants and first-responders.  They are people for whom certain matters, social issues if you will, are critically important.  They do not place Mr. Trump on the pedestal of hero worship.  Instead, they simply view him as the vessel from which their beliefs would be best served.

Then there are those for whom this election is a higher elevation of torture.  They are certainly no fans of Clinton.  Many are lifelong, committed Republicans.  The thought of not voting for their party's nominee is repugnant.  And yet, and yet...

And yet they cannot do so.  They are locked onto the true north of their own moral compass.  For them, the needle consistently points away from casting a ballot for Mr. Trump.

One of my friends on Facebook is such a person.  He is one of the finest people I know.  He has not only fought for this nation, he has led others in battle.  He is a thoughtful, gracious, intelligent, and compassionate person.  He is unapologetic in his faith, yet I never feel he is forcing it down my throat.  If anything, he slides out a chair and invites you to sit down with him.

And he's taken some HEAT rounds for this position.  For some, the "either your with us or against us" stance is non-negotiable.  That's sad.  

It is fine to be passionate about causes that matter to you.  It is not fine (uncool, actually, if you ask me) to get upset at someone else, especially a friend who does not agree with you.  I know I've been guilty of this myself in the past and I'm working on it.  What's the old saying, "Knowing you've got a problem is the first step in a cure..."

This morning (October 24, 2016), it was announced that former California State Senator and former student radical Tom Hayden had passed away.  You can read his obituary here.  He was someone who spent over half a century fighting for what he believed.  Some of those fights were ones I could not support, such as traveling to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.  (Interestingly, The State Department looked the over way during the first trip, utilizing it as a way to initiate formal peace negotiations.  I still think it was an anti-American thing to do and Hayden said as much in his book, Reunion.)

Like him or hate him, one cannot deny the impact of Tom Hayden.  He was involved in the process.  Like him or hate him, Donald J. Trump has gotten millions of people involved in the process.  Like her or hate her, Hillary Rodham Clinton has gotten millions involved (or perhaps kept them involved, but participating none the less).  Let's not forget Senator Sanders from Vermont.  I did not support him this year, yet am impressed, and yes...grateful for his contribution to the process.  Millions of new voters, mostly young, came out to the polls and crowded into caucus locations to "Fell the Bern."  That heat was felt in the Clinton campaign all primary season.
It's almost over, that's the good news.  Here's the bad news:  the problems and challenges we face will still be there...

I've heard several well-known political observers quote and paraphrase the famous response that Benjamin Franklin gave to the woman on the streets of Philadelphia who inquired as to what type of Government this new "Constitution" had given the people?  Franklin replied, "A republic....if you can keep it."

With all the negativity and anger surrounding this campaign, it is easy to feel down.  The yard sign below is a sentiment I suspect more than a few folks feel this year.

From my cousin Ivan's Facebook page, kinda sums up the way a LOT of folks feel this year.

Whether we like it or not, it's our job, all of ours, to keep our republic.  So how do we reconcile our (collective) feelings of dismay with our civic obligation to engage in the process?  
That is admittedly not an easy answer.  Yet I do offer a few suggestions:  

1.  Vote.  Go to the polls, do early voting, get an absentee ballot, but vote.  If you cannot bring yourself to vote for the top of the ticket, fine.  But please do not ignore the many down ballot races.  Oh, and educate yourself on the candidates;

2.  Stay Informed.  After the elections are over, it will be natural for many, many people to say, "Thank God this is over!" and do the mental equivalent of balling up the Christmas lights, shoving them in boxes and hiding them in the garage.  We cannot do that.  Stay informed, at least on a few issues that matter to you.  With the internet, the information is easy to obtain but PLEASE, vet the source;

3.  If you have a friend who you had a following out with, who posted something on social media that just, well, pissed you off, let it go.  Reach out to that person.  Have a conversation, listening for the lion's share of it.  Trust me, you'll feel better; and

4.  Recognize that no matter what happens, we'll be fine.  I hope the Cubs win, but if they do not, we'll be fine.  If ______ wins, we'll be fine.  Deep breath, big smile, it's all good.

Yes, the election will be over soon.  Then the hard work begins.  Lets all get to work.

Be well my friends, 

And p.s., GO VOTE!  Thank you.

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