An Open Letter to my Friends:
I rarely ask for favors. But I need one tonight. For some of you, I know this is a very big favor.
Tonight (or tomorrow or in the coming weeks), the President-elect of the United States will be announced.
And when that happens, I would really appreciate it if before you jump on facebook, twitter, cellphones, chat at the coffee shop, etc. you consider the following:
If your guy doesn’t win tonight and you say something to the effect of:
“America will never recover from this guy”
“this President-elect will ruin our country”
“America is the worst place in the world to live…”
I feel like:
– You are disrespecting my ancestors (one who was a whiskey distiller and barrel maker in Ireland) for deciding this was a better place to raise his family.
– You are disrespecting generations of my family for staying here following that move, which considering a Civil War, two World Wars, a Great Depression, overseas military conflicts, and numerous natural disasters means that we are a pretty determined bunch that this is the place to be.
– You are disrespecting my grandfathers, who served in WWII. You are disrespecting my father, who retired from the National Guard. You are disrespecting my brother, who has served two tours in Iraq, has retired from the Army Reserves, and is a Federal Agent. And finally, you are disrespecting all who have served alongside them to bring them safely home to me.
– You are disrespecting my father-in-law, who is a retired Federal Agent. And the men and women who kept him safe during his service to our country.
– You are disrespecting my sister, sister-in-law, and brothers-in-law who work very hard to make the world and this country a better place for their wonderful children. I would include my extended family, neighbors, and friends, who are doing the same.
I bet if you look back through this list you can relate your own relationships and experiences to mine.
But most of all, I think you are disrespecting yourself.
The greatness of this country is not determined by the man who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The greatness of this country is determined by us – You and me.
And if you really want to go to Canada (although I hear it gets pretty cold there), knock yourself out. I hope I have a place to stay whenever I visit (cold but very pretty).
And if you stay, you have an obligation to make this country a better place. Everyday.
An election every four years is just that – an election every four years. Regardless of who is elected, it is YOUR responsibility to hold ALL our leadership ACCOUNTABLE.
For this to really work, you don’t have the luxury of voting every four years, ignoring everything in-between, and freaking out when things don’t go your way. You must stay engaged with what is happening in your country and to your fellow citizens regardless of who is in office.
Aside from executive orders (which I happen to hate), every law passed in this country has a process – a process you might not like – but a process you can pay attention to and speak up during. And every law has an avenue for challenge.
I believe nothing is definitive in this country and everything relies on the people who either stand up and say something or sit quietly on the sidelines.
So no matter who wins – don’t be passive about what you expect to have happen. Even if your guy is the winning candidate, he will have his head full of extremist voices. (Personally, I am more frightened by the strategy teams from the respective parties than I am of either candidate).
Neither of these men will ruin our country nor will any other elected official. You know why?
We won’t let them.
I hope you stand with me on this. And I really would appreciate this little favor tonight and for the next four years.
Now let’s get on with the party! I plan on celebrating America tonight – no matter who wins.