Why I Loved This Electio…

I love politics. I’ve always loved politics. It’s like wrestling – in suits. To watch or play this sport, one must be deeply informed and totally cracked. This game is so complicated and heart wrenching that learning it might cause you to question everything about who you are and what you believe. This election cycle was fun for me. But it wasn’t fun like a circus is fun. It was a different kind of fun. I have been collecting facts and information for a story I hope to tell my grandkids in twenty years. The fun I’m having now is guessing how this story will turn out.
The Campaign
There are so many things about political campaigns that capture my attention. I love the “issue-oriented” commercials that secretly move a voter toward a ridiculous attitude about something they can’t name. I love how supporters create handmade campaign signs that say what they really want to say because the party they love and support won’t say it for them. I love the goofy red and blue maps and the amazing math all Americans have to do to predict the outcome. (This reminds me of trying to do enough advanced math in college to figure out what I needed on a final exam to clinch an “A” in a course.) I even love the biased analysis presented by journalists who have convinced themselves that they are fair, independent, and dedicated to Cronkite’s principles. I found myself glued to the left-winged elitist news programs before comparing everything they said to O’Reilly and his sly friends. I was fascinated, mesmerized, dazzled, and thrilled. And, believe it or not, I couldn’t get my fill.
The Win
Election Day arrived before I could digest the campaign meal. My candidate won. I think everyone in America knew my candidate would win. Even though 61% of the people nearest to me didn’t choose my candidate, I think they did understand the significance of this inevitable win. It was a long time coming. My candidate has talked about this a lot. Every speech, debate, commercial, and interview given by my candidate is evidence of his belief of what has taken a long time to come to America. And I agree. It’s not about race, gender, party, or ideology. It’s not about war, peace, Wall Street, or Main Street. It’s not about today’s crisis or tomorrow’s headlines. It’s about trust. My candidate wants to believe in America again, so he sacrificed a cushy life to help recreate a government that could be worthy of trust. And over half of our country wants to see him do just that.
Now What?
It’s alright that so many aren’t so sure about this skinny kid with a funny name right now. Their mistrust of our government runs deeper than mine. To bring a unifying trust of our government back to our electorate, a leader must recognize and respect the mistrust these individuals have of you and the many dishonest government leaders before you. And he must govern with sensitivity to their fears, frustrations, and concerns. I used to think that our nation needed a modern JFK or rough riding progressive. History is so full of cool stories that bring proud smiles to our faces as we recall the mountains we’ve climbed and the challenges we’ve overcome. But a modern JFK or a rough rider won’t help us satisfy our need to like ourselves as a nation again. A “larger than life” leader can help us fall in love with ourselves again, but that is not what we need. Infatuation is very short-lived. We need to truly like who we are as a nation. By learning to trust our government and believe that public servants are faithfully attending to our needs, Americans might start to believe in our pledge. We might think good thoughts when the word politician is mentioned. We might even forget if a state is supposed to be blue or red. So, what was so great about the presidential election of 2008? Someone diagnosed the real problem in America. We are a divided nation because we mistrust our government. And we’ve been trust-busting for a long time. Rebuilding a trust that was broken by others might cause a new president pause. But this man understands the challenge. So, can one president restore the trust of a nation? No. But the next five to ten presidents can. It will be “Change We Can Believe In” when this president performs his duty as an honest broker on America’s behalf AND the next five presidents follow his lead and do the same. I actually think it can happen. Honesty is not a lost art. I see it everywhere I go. There is no reason why it can’t become our expectation and standard. I actually think these stories will be the coolest ones yet. Make no mistake, there is an epic battle brewing within us all in America. Will we be forced to love a nation that we loathe? Or can this loveable phoenix rise from its ashes as nation revered, responsive, and honest, once again? I hope this story will be a tale that will bring a proud smile to my face when I tell it to my grandkids in twenty years.

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