~ notes from an uncommon journey ~

Surviving Presidents

So we now know who will be president for the next four years. Many are delighted; many are dismayed. Me--I'm just delighted it's over.

With as crazy as this campaign got and as our political climate has become (more about that later), it was certainly easy to become distressed by it all. And I succumbed to that my fair share. But you know what? I also reminded myself often: "We will survive whoever wins this." We survived Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan*, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush, and the first four years of Obama. (And I'm only going back as far as I've been alive.)

And--we will survive another four years of Obama. Barring the end of the world...we will very likely still be here in four years.

I'm not saying this because I voted a particular way and now need to console myself. (Actually I'll not be sharing how I voted--it's beside the point; plus, I don't think it's anyone's else's business). My concern here is the lack of perspective by many, the depths of despair by some, the outlandish claims by others.

So here's a little perspective for ya: Barack Obama is neither a god nor a demon. Same goes for Mitt Romney. Same goes for every political candidate of all time.

On the despair front: the photo on the right. I mean, seriously?? Besides the fact that those look like a man's hands on a lady's body...it seems a bit much to me. (It appears this was created before the election, but I've seen it posted a few times in my Facebook feed within the last day.)

As for outlandish claims, there's always "I'm moving to Canada if my guy loses." Well, first of all...in 99% of the cases: no, you're not. But...if you're serious, you might want to prepare yourself for the fact that it ain't easy. And by the way, like that article says, Canada has universal healthcare (so it gives health screenings to immigrants and rejects those with conditions it deems too expensive), and gay marriage has been legal there for about 7 years. Oh, and in case you're thinking Australia:

Just an FYI.

What concerns me even more, though, is the way many people are treating those who disagree with them politically. It has gotten way out of hand. In this regard, you gotta listen to this, the most recent episode of This American Life:

I'm thankful for the bright spot in Act One, the politically-opposed authors** who've looked for techniques that those with differing views can use in talking with each other. But on the whole: Ugh.

One of my friends posted this on Facebook today:
Love is wise; hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other, we have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don't like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance, which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet. -Bertrand Russell
And I can only say: Amen and yes, please.

How do you think we can better tolerate differing views--and those who hold them!, to improve our country's political climate and our relationships? If you have ideas for this, please share them in the comments.

*Reagan only made the list for completeness; I happen to think he was one of our better presidents.
**I've not read this book, so I'm not recommending it here, just pointing to it.

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