Last week I found myself apologizing to both my voting age children for the state of today’s national election.
“It wasn’t always like this,” I said. “People used to disagree, as did the candidates, but it was never this ugly.”
Each of them, both in their first decade of presidential voting, gave me a blank look – which in itself worried me.
“I’m sorry my generation is leaving such an important responsibility in your hands in this sorry condition.”
I wish my apology could reach the rest of the Millenials.
This presidential election began ugly on both sides and finished the gutter. For that I hurt. Call me old-fashioned, but I still hold the office of the presidency in the highest regard, almost in reverence. I passionately believes the United States of America is one of the greatest manifestations of mankind’s better intentions. I also believe, while as humanly flawed as the people our government represents, for the most part, our nation is a beacon of inspiration to the world.
This election cycle, however, makes me sick to my stomach. I feel as if the American flag itself is being dragged though the mud.
My parents often disagreed on whom they would vote for on Election Day. But never did the disagreements become ugly or personal. They respected each other’s ability and right to make an independent decision. Afterwards they’d joke they’d simply cancelled out the other’s vote. But then life moved on.
Today I see people, even friends I’ve know my entire life, practicing anger and venom towards each about their choices. Social media is simply become a toxic platform for people to spew without listening – never taking the time to discuss or emphatically absorb other points of view. A nation where the people’s greatest tool for democracy is to ‘unfriend’ someone is a sad state indeed.
Passion has a rightful home in the cycle of presidential elections. And to say our history was nothing but conventions filled of peopling sitting around singing the happy sounds of Kumbaya is delusional. But the reality of today’s politics is toxic and threatening to poison the fabric of our nation.
Like most people, I witnessed this presidential election process devolve into not who is best qualified to lead the nation, but least likely wreck office. And, anyone can agree, this is in no way a threshold of excellence.
Again, I apologize to those to whom my generation will be leaving this important civic responsibility. The cart is wobbling.
Please don’t get disgusted or disengaged with elections. This is your country. Fight for it. Make it better. Shape this country into your dreams and aspirations of what a great nation can and should be. The United States is truly one of the most exceptional experiments in the history of mankind. The world is truly better because of our 240 years of existence.
Don’t fall prey to the ugliness of the lowest common denominator. Disagree, but respect. Don’t become the problem, but rather be the solution.