I am not sure that becoming politically minded is helping me become a better person. In fact it is likely making me judgmental, polarized and highly opinionated and less easy to live with? One has only to ask my husband or daughters for their thoughts. That isn't changing me, however! I feel very strongly about this election, so much so that I am not sure that I can stand to watch the election returns and feel the minute to minute pain or hope or perhaps be left hanging in limbo for days to come as they recount the votes. Too-close-to-call polls have become very hard on me physically and emotionally, and sure enough today it will take all of me to go and cast my vote as perhaps the anticipation of this day as already "done me in", but I wouldn't miss voting for the world!!
Is it good to be so decided and so "narrow"? It certainly doesn't make for peace in our house, as it is divided down the middle when it comes to political sides (and other sides as well?). I would like to think that my strong opinions are based on my "fine tuning and sharpening" of my values. There is no riding the fence about right and wrong any more, though black and white thinking, it is not! My "narrowed" path isn't the easiest to walk but my humor helps and I have joked about voting day being switched from today to tomorrow for my girls, but they know better and are equally determined to cast their votes to cancel my husband's and mine.
I am trying to entertain that my candidate won't win, and am trying to reconcile four years with a president I didn't choose. It won't be the first time, and I am sure that my life will go on. The process is still good, I think. It has made me examine myself thoroughly as I flip between news stations, guaranteed to hear polar opposite "facts". How is it that reality changes that much? Of course, it doesn't, only the focus and the attention paid to which facts and how you "spin" them, according to one's values. I wonder what ever happened to reporting all the facts and let us do our own spin?
I used to think that all this news watching was simply my choice of watching a more dramatic soap opera than the real soaps and that it makes my time pass faster as I persevere through what is sometimes mundane otherwise. Politics is stranger than any fictionalized program I could watch. The cast of characters really are more varied than could be imagined and if taken from start to finish, I rarely pick the candidate that becomes nominated. It is likely a good thing, as before it is over, I see the character flaws of the one I initially chose.
I learn about myself in this process and learn more about others as well. Candidates too good to be true; lofty promises unkempt; corruption at the core; or, perhaps, like jobs I have had, just a person with an unmatched skill set for a poorly defined and open-ended job, impossible for anyone to adequately bite off, chew and digest, much less perform, though I still hope that someone larger than life will meet the challenges and sometimes they do just that and more!
It is also hard to watch the projected dreams of the nation placed on an individual that may, in fact, be a totally different person than what he/she is perceived to be. Or perhaps we are merely picking the scapegoat that we heap our unrealistic expectations on and then send them off to the desert carrying all our sins to be crucified by the public. It is truly a thankless job, and likely not worth all the acclaim and glory or even the life-long benefits. How many of us would really want early entombment and museums and libraries containing our eye glasses and toothbrushes, and diaries exposed to the public forevermore?
So as we trundle off to the polls today to cast our vote or abstain, we are deciding directly or indirectly the future set of values and hopes for our nation. It is a fork in the road and we are collectively choosing the direction that will be taken, hopefully for the good of all, though sometimes I fear, sadly not.
There is much hope for another George Washington, or Abraham Lincoln, but I think the times are different as are the problems facing this country and the best we can hope for is that the future president's skill set will measure up to the issues that need to be dealt with in the generation to come. Our vote is truly an act of faith in the integrity of the person we choose. However wanting our government might be or the candidates that we select to run, I value this process and don't miss my opportunity to be part of it.