And Now the Heavy Lifting Begins

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So here we are on election day 2020. When the votes are counted we will know who is going to be the president for the next four years and who will represent us in the House and the Senate. Whatever happens, whoever wins, I would like to think that we will accept the choices and move forward, but I sincerely doubt that it will be as easy as that. There is so much rancor and anxiety in the country that I suspect that the verbal conflicts and political jousting will continue until we as a people finally decide that we have had enough. Who knows how long that will take or if it will ever happen. In the meantime the winners will move forward with their ideas and the losers will take stock to determine what they may have done wrong. 

The political landscape is changing whether we wish it to do so or not. The Baby Boomers and their parents who remain are slowly fading away. Newer generations will have more and more of a say in how we should do things and their ideals gaze into the future rather than looking back on a time that no longer exists. It is the way of the world. The clock does not stand still. 

All eyes are on my hometown of Houston, Texas, a kind of microcosm of what is to come. It is the most diverse city in the United States. It is home to people from across the globe with no one race noticeably greater in numbers than another. It is a vibrant population rather than an aging one. Somehow with all of our differences we manage to mostly get along and we always come together in difficult times. Perhaps no other city better represents what all of America should hope to be in learning how to embrace the many different aspirations of our citizens. 

My most fervent wish is that the United States of America will begin a process of healing in the coming years. Politics have pitted us against one another for far too long. We cannot even remember when it all began, although I have a few ideas regarding that. If we are not careful we will become like the Shia and the Sunni in Iraq or the IRA and England of a few years ago. Our disagreements will become ever more senseless and brutal. It’s time for the adults in the room to deliver us from the misery that has plagued us since the back and forth of political battles began around the year 2000. An entire generation has grown up in an ugly atmosphere of never ending retribution that only seems to become more and more serious with the passage of time. Perhaps it will be in the ranks of our younger citizens that we will finally find leaders with the will to work together to solve our very real problems. 

First we must get beyond the horrific effects that Covid-19 has had on our society. Somehow when we most needed to work together as a nation we lost our way, focusing instead on unimportant matters and making our efforts about personal freedoms. We divided into camps rather than responding uniformly to the needs of our most vulnerable. We wasted time and energy arguing when we should have agreed to a plan designed to keep our society both safe and still operating as fully as possible. 

Next we must be willing to genuinely demonstrate our willingness to hear and understand our differences in a way that will unify rather than divide. I fear that if we continue to barter in hate and an eye for an eye we will find ourselves on the brink of disaster. There is surely a way to live together in harmony and respect without domination. I long for the day when members of our political parties will once again join together to create legislation and programs for the good of all of the people and all of the states, not just the ones that vote for them.

There are certainly challenges that belie partisanship. We have to face the realities of climate change now or face the consequences of ever more dire scenarios. Waiting to do something will only lead to a catastrophic future. Repairing the damage we have done does not mean a return to the dark ages if we focus on encouraging innovation and a willingness to change some of the ways we have always done things. We need not be pessimistic about such a process for it will surely lead to even better times than those in which we now live. There can be a brighter tomorrow if we are willing to tap into the inventiveness of our minds.

We must consider ways of protecting freedoms while also working for a common good. We will no doubt need to compromise here and there but our trajectory should always be forward. We must honor our old and our young while supporting our workforce. No single religion or race should dominate our laws. We have to find ways of providing state of the art medical care to all citizens, not just those lucky enough to be able to afford high priced health insurance. We need to rationally honor our religious differences and be willing to understand those whose sexual orientations are unlike our own. Mostly we should begin to shun anyone or any group that knowingly attempts to divide us with fear and hate. 

The voting will stop for today but the hard lifting will begin tomorrow. If we are not up to the task we will leave our children with a harsher world than necessary. Why would we ever want to do that?

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