Friday, November 11, 2016

Thoughts from a bike seat

"What is this power you speak of and the need for things to change? I always thought that everything was fine" - Dialogue Parts 1 &2 by Chicago

Today I am working from home as I have another medical appointment; I seem to have a lot of those these days.  As I like to do on such days, I biked along with Bonnie on her ride to work this morning so that we would have a little more time together.  It seemed all the more important because yesterday she was yelled at by a teenager in a pick-up truck and told to leave America.  In an area where most that ride bikes to work likely were not born in the USA, such a comment is not surprising and is another anecdote that shows just how divided we are in this country.  Today, news stories of racist graffiti and a planned KKK victory rally in North Carolina further demonstrate the level of hatred and mistrust that exists in America. It seems like the divisions in this country are wider than the Grand Canyon and are only getting wider.

Democracy is a participatory form of government in which all voices must be heard, even those with whom we are at odds. But clearly some ugly voices were heard more in this recent election. Sadly many sat out the election, given the low voter turn-out, perhaps turned off by the vitriol of the various candidates for office, or perhaps just not happy with any of the choices. Even with the low turn-out, however, it must still be remembered that the President-elect did not win the majority of the popular vote. The man who distanced himself from the "elites" was able to win because of the most elitist of political institutions - the electoral college. Still, we must give this President-elect the chance to lead and hope that the more reasoned tone of his acceptance speech on Wednesday morning will be a positive sign, in the wake of the most negative, and disgusting, campaign I can ever recall.

Our government works best when our voices are heard. The ballot box is not the only way that we can be heard.  The first amendment of our constitution provides the most powerful democratic tool - the freedom of speech.  Yes, it can give voice to hatred and racism and lies, but it must also give voice to love and acceptance and truth.  We must not be afraid to use the power of our voice when our government is failing the people; not with anger, but with passion and resolve.

When political action threatens to oppress - we must speak up!

When political action threatens to harm individuals or our environment - we must speak up!

When political action threatens to benefit the few at the expense of the many - we must speak up!

We can speak up through social media, but we can also speak directly to our elected officials via emails, government websites, through various non-profit groups, and through peaceful protests. But we must not be afraid to use the power of our voice in this most uncertain time for our country. However, we must take the high road and speak without malice. We must speak with reason, integrity, and clarity. Others will try to shout us down and attack us with profane words and negativity. However we must keep moving forward positively toward a better future for everyone in America, not just those with the loudest or nastiest voices. We can make it happen!






1 comment:

  1. An interesting post... After watching your election with great interest it was good to read your opinion....
    We too are pretty divided over here in the UK....

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