By Marci Nelson
In the United States, it is the days after the 2018 midterm elections. Exhale. We made it. Unfortunately not everyone is breathing a sigh of relief. Today, for example, my supervisor walked out of his office exclaiming “Our country’s going to pot!” A fed up Facebook friend posted “I hate this piece of crap state….” Numerous news articles talk about the “division” that America is experiencing, and it is leaving them concerned about the state of the nation’s government. I understand where their frustrations are coming from. Honestly. We are in an extremely heated political climate that is causing an impasse in Congress. It is causing our nation’s citizens to lie awake at night, worrying about their children’s future.
I’m sick of it. I’m tired of hearing that our country is divided, that our government is corrupt, and that there’s no hope for America, let alone the world. I refuse to believe that.
In my world, I see 113 million – up to 49% – of eligible Americans voting! This is the first midterm EVER to exceed 100 million votes.
I see men, women, and young adults of all kind voicing their opinions on issues that matter to them, whether it is through social media, voting, or actually joining organizations that can make a difference.
I see my dad, among others, devoting his evenings to reading and watching the news so that he is an informed citizen, so that when it comes time to vote, he votes for the people and policies that will better his world and his community.
I see mothers and fathers who are doing their best to teach their children about respect, compassion, patriotism, and kindness. Most Americans can agree that all of this is good news.
I see communities sacrificing time and money to help their neighbors who are suffering from natural disasters, poverty, or disease.
I see teachers creating a healthy, happy learning environment where children feel loved, empowered, and capable of becoming who they want to become.
I see our so-called “divide” as a guarantee of checks and balances, so no branch of government or political party becomes too powerful.
How fortunate we are to be able to make our voices heard. We are not perfect; that is obvious. But so many people all over the world are still fighting for their right to vote. Saudi Arabia gave women the right to vote only three years ago. There are twenty countries in the world where the citizens cannot vote for their leaders. In Lebanon, women have to prove they have an elementary education in order to vote. In twenty-two countries, voting is legally mandated, with severe consequences like fines, the inability to open banking accounts, or to receive education.
I do not believe we are as divided as the media wants us to think. Aren’t we all just human beings, trying to do what’s best for our families? I am convinced that the majority of people, with the exception of a rare few, do what they believe is right, regardless of race, gender, religious affiliation, or political party. No election can change the fact that we all desire to see changes that will make our world a happier, healthier, and safer place to live.