This weekend was filled with great joy as I gathered with friends in Chicago to celebrate the marriage of two amazing friends, Adam and Steve. I have a whole blog post due about attending my first gay wedding and the amazing gratitude I feel for being a part of something truly special, but that shall wait. First, I feel compelled to reflect in the amazing conversations with friends I had about the current political fodder flying around the country and interwebs.
I should start with the fact that I make no apologies for my political beliefs. I am a Maryland flag waving, Obama sticker laden, love my country cheering Democrat. I have chosen the party of my parents primarily for issues of social justice and commitment to embracing differences rather than for reasons of fiscal policy but I am versed in this as well. I don’t always agree with my party, most notably in the area of illegal immigration, but I am ok eith that, for in families we don’t always agree with but always love.
In my 34 years of life, I have been a junkie for political campaigns from a distance. I have not rallied, polled, campaigned, or volunteered. I have signed a petition or two and listened and read widely and of course, I have voted with great pride. From my first presidential election sent by absentee ballot from Missouri to Maryland in 1996 to the day I clicked the box for President Obama in 2008. Voting is a privelege and a gift that we as citizens of this country are blessed to hold.
This fall is a particularly challenging time to be an American of either party. We are bombarded with messages of a vitriolic nature on both sides of the aisle. In our 24 hour news cycle we hear sound bites and snippets manipulated to fuel the fodder and raise the level of tension between the two parties. I am under no illusion that my cable news channel is anything less than liberal just as I realize a competing channel leans completely right. And it is with these understandings that I am so blessed to have intellect. It is reading deeper beyond the sound bite where one must look for answers. With this gift of democracy comes great responsibility in dedicating ourselves at minimum once ever four years to become a educated electorate.
If we allow ourselves only to become swept up into the emotional fray of politics in social media, we do not truly fulfill our role as Americans. We can share a short pictures of The President and The Governor with “pro-our side” messages but when we lower ourselves into the muck of name calling, we cheapen our gift of free elections. I have no problem with seeing pro-Republican bits on the social media pages of friends as long as they are living beliefs that are their own and not that of a lemming approach established by their parents, church or general peer pressure. I relish in intellectual discourse that leads me to question and further my own belief system. I rejoice in the freedom to stay up late and yell at the tv when I hear things I disagree with and jump like a school girl when I hear opinions close to my own.
But it is in these emotionally charged political climates that I must always remember, and I encourage you dear reader to do the same, that love wins. That we can argue and disagree out of respect but when the day is done and the ballots are counted, we must turn to love. I wish you a peaceful election season dear readers. If my Facebook pix of the president or the articles I share offend you, it is certainly not my intent. I’m excited about my party leaders and the possibilities they bring to the country just as I hope you are for yours. I reach my hand across the aisle to you with love, respect and gratitude to live in a country where I can defend your right to yell things with which I may vehemently disagree. Let’s crack open a nice American craft beer and toast to this gift together.