As much of the country sits at home or in bars awaiting the final count for this much anticipated mid-term season, it is easy to forget the beauty of the democratic process. So let’s take a moment to appreciate it.
In this highly charged political climate, it is easy to forget how lucky we are as a nation. We don’t fear coups. We have a democratically elected president (though some dispute this, I will not get into that argument here). We don’t dread government retaliation or attacks against the public. We have freedom of speech. We have freedom of the press. We have freedom.
To be sure, we have our challenges. The economy is in shambles. Foreign policy is a dicey balance that is largely forgotten by many Americans who are struggling to keep their homes and feed their families. Our educational system is marginal, at best. We are at war in two countries and some would like to make that number three. These are not insignificant challenges. It is all too easy for many voters, independents and republicans in particular, to want to hand a referendum down to President Obama.
And that is the beauty of our government. They very likely will. The republicans may not gain the majority in the senate but the increasing red on CNN’s political map is a statement. It’s a statement that, warranted or not, the American people are not happy with the current administration and congress.
One more thing that is easy to forget. America is big. That sounds incredibly ignorant because, well, obviously! But, for those of us who grew up in middle or upper class America; for those of us in urban areas who live in the “safe” neighborhoods; for us it is hard to remember the strife of those living in towns that were formally supported by the auto industry. Or those who live in small farming towns that relied on small businesses that have closed their doors because they couldn’t afford the rent.
Urban areas are bubbles of dichotomies: the richest of rich and poorest of poor. But the rich don’t see the poor and often the reverse is also true. America is a country with citizens from all corners of the world and all walks of life. There are those who cannot imagine leaving their small town for a city like New York and those who cannot imagine leaving the big apple for a slower pace of life. We are the characters who created world leading technologies and Internet search engines and, lest we forget, Facebook.
So as we rile in defeat or rejoice in pleasure for our candidates, take a moment to remember the bigger picture. It will at least help those who feel the pain of loss remember the beauty of the American political process.