Columns 2016

Going into the future together

Here’s what we all need to remember. This is America and we are all Americans. And while I will be the first to say that I will never call the DayGlo man president, I will always respect America and the system we use to transfer power every four years. Real Americans do not use violence to overthrow their government, no matter how angry or anguished they are by any given election result. We are not some Third World country that changes power with bloodshed. We do it the American way.

It will come as no surprise to anyone reading this that I did not vote for DayGlo man. But we have a system in place and this is what the system produced. If you are unhappy about this, then get out there and work for the candidate you want to win. Stop sitting around watching reality tv when the reality happening outside your front door is what really matters.

There will be midterm elections in two years. Find out who the candidates are, who the incumbents are, and learn the issues now. Don’t wait until the last minute and suddenly realize that there is no one to vote for who really represents what you believe in.

I think we are all well aware that the issues we will be facing in the immediate and distant future will be issues that could change our country and its character for generations to come. The climate is changing; the power in the world is shifting. We cannot afford to hate each other and remain as divided after the election as we were before it.

I openly admit that many of the more hate-filled, misogynistic racists who supported the DayGlo man will never be my choice of friend. I have relatives and other friends who supported him for real and honest reasons that had nothing to do with hate. I have loved these people for many years. I know they are good people. I will not let any politician rip them from my life.

The greatness of America is being able to disagree, sometimes quite vehemently, on any number of national issues while still working together, living together and loving together. The alternative is to become a Third World nation where one ethnic group tries to isolate and kill the other, where being separate is the norm, where neighbors do not trust each other if their religion or skin color differs in the slightest.

We cannot let the haters who were evident in this election win and change our America into their version of America. We have got to come together across religious and ethnic boundaries and embrace what each new culture brings to the table. Our strength derives from the fresh infusion of emigrants that constantly renew us with their cultures.

My ancestral culture brought pizza to America. I know Americans at this point almost feel as though pizza is the American national cuisine but it was Italian immigrants who introduced it to these shores. Those sushi rolls you love so much are brought to you by the same nationality that was interned as un-American during World War 11. That Vietnamese pho that warms you on cold days is brought to you by refugees from our long ago war of the sixties.

There is no indigenous American culture except that of Alaska Natives and Native Americans. Other than that, our culture is the result of a delicious stew of multiple cultures, foods and religions. To keep strong, we must never forget that. We must never forget that we are, in fact, stronger together than we ever are alone.

For a nation obsessed with team sports, you’d think that would be glaringly evident. The Cubs won the World Series as a team. Whatever group won the last Superbowl won because they played together. Basketball depends on one teammate knowing when to pass to another and when to take the shot. They are not checking skin color or religion before they pass the ball. They look only for the best person to pass it to in order to win the game.

So if you don’t like the results of this election, do something about it. But make sure that what you do is in the grand tradition of this country. We fight with words, campaigns, and votes. We do not fight with guns, violence and riots.