NaBloPoMo 8: The Morning After

While this will post two days after the election, it is Wednesday morning as I write it. The tea leaves are still floating, so to speak, and it is hard to predict what it means to have spent $6 billion on an election that has us exactly where we were before it started (Obama White House, Republican House and Dems in the Senate). It seems to me that’s not a mandate.

Worse, most of us were pretty unhappy with where we started.

I have two Faceboook accounts; one where I connect with personal friends, colleagues, and so on, the other focused on my breast cancer advocacy. To be fair, the breast cancer community is far more diverse than my “personal” page. It reaches across the country (even around the world) and most assuredly across party lines. Much of what I have read has opened my eyes to people and arguments I’d have otherwise never seen.

Some of it is just open hostility toward the “other,” which makes me profoundly sad. But I’ve also learned a great deal from following the dialogue in both the Romney and Obama camps.

Throughout this election season my family has tried to hear both sides, from The New Republic to the National Review, from FOX News to MSNBC. We have acknowledged the biases and tried to fairly argue both sides of the issues we care about. We have tried to LISTEN first, and advocate second.

To be fair, I do this because it strengthens the argument when I understand the other side’s concerns and have a cogent response. It also helps me remember that mine are just opinions…I don’t necessarily know more than the “other side” and I’m not necessarily more right. I have worked hard to look past the deeply disappointing hatred on both sides (and it is this that worries me above all else), for the thoughtful, educated voices.

It remains to be seen what happens next…

Will our leaders hear and heed our frustration?

Will not having to run again will allow the President to reach more openly across the aisle?

Will Republicans can set aside the primary focus on denying Obama a second term long enough to govern and lead?

Will Democrats respond openly or spitefully?

Will, can, both sides recognize, above all else, that the vitriol is not good for America or Americans?

I have probably been pretty clear about where I sit on the political spectrum (in some small part because as an 11-year cancer-fighter I AM planning to live long enough to hit my maximum annual payout and I DO stay up nights worrying about pre-existings for myself and my family). While I am relieved that President Obama has another for years to turn our country around, I also believe it is a very tall order and if he can do it at all, he cannot do it alone.

I don’t know what happens next, but I know this: I pray that our leaders – ALL our leaders – will answer the challenges that face us with cool heads and open hearts. I hope they put the American people before partisan politics. I hope they listen before they lead. I hope they remember both who put them in office, and who they work for.

They say you can’t complain if you don’t vote. But we know that’s not true. We CAN complain. In fact, it is our civic duty. Our representatives can’t speak for us if we don’t speak up! Write. Call. Email. Visit their offices. Tell them what you think and why. I have had the good fortune of speaking out on issues obscure enough that I’ve gotten a call BACK asking for more information. Democracy is complicated and hard, and it isn’t always clean. And it often doesn’t go our way. But we still decide if we are helpless, or if we want to be part of the change our country needs.

Elections are just a moment in time. They wrought transitions, to be sure, but they are not everything. Democracy is a process. There was a moment in time when it had a beginning, but it doesn’t start and stop with inaugurations. And it’s waiting for your voice whenever you are ready!

God Bless America

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. BreastCancerSisterhood.com
    Nov 08, 2012 @ 08:38:47

    Lori,
    Thank you for remaining above the negative fray of discord that’s surrounded us during this election. I, too, listen and study what both sides say, but am amazed at how many people don’t want to listen to anything that doesn’t aline with their thinking. Unfortunately, too many make judgements based on media soundbites as though they were scribed in stone.
    Brenda

    Reply

  2. Susan
    Nov 08, 2012 @ 09:09:09

    It is so refreshing to read an unbiased approach to this election. I find your perspective so refreshing and you made a lot of great points. Thanks Lori. Once again, great post!

    Reply

  3. Sally Clarke
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 02:37:54

    Lori-

    I am a 35 year survivor of breast cancer (a radical mastectomy at age 26) with a recent diagnosis of a recurrence in my sternum. I’ve read your blog for several months now. I am glad this current election season is over – along with it the stress – something I certainly can do without these days.
    But I did want to respond to your post in saying that I don’t believe we are in the same place as before even though the players appear to be the same. This election is a wake up call to the country that the face of our nation is changing. We showed that we need a government that works for ALL of us. We showed that women can and will make their own decisions about their own bodies and health care. (and put more women into office)
    I too hope to live long enough to see a future where my children (and hopefully, grandchildren) can live healthy, productive lives, with opportunity for education and not saddled with debt. . . In a world they want to bring future generations into.

    Reply

  4. chemobrainfog
    Nov 15, 2012 @ 00:01:47

    This should be REQUIRED reading for everyone. You built a beautiful bridge with your words. We can all walk on that bridge from whichever side we choose but we are all WELCOME, indeed encouraged to use the bridge. Bridges NOT walls…… I love you for a million reasons and your ability to be so gracious and eloquent is just one of those million reasons….

    Reply

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