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America: On The High Road or Making A U-Turn

October 30, 2016

highroadMy first encounter with politics was in 1960. Kennedy was running against Nixon and I was in eighth grade.  We were assigned a candidate, had to watch the debates and write a report. Mine was Nixon. The thing I remember most was the controversy of Kennedy being Catholic. The big question was, would he abide by the constitution or take directions from the Pope?

Then in 1964, my senior year of high school, Goldwater ran against Johnson. I spent many a night in our local Sambo’s  (yes, it was a real place – kind of a Denny’s) arguing politics with a few friends. Most of the country was afraid of what Goldwater was saying, ironically much of what he spouted came true. Especially about Vietnam.

In 1968, when Nixon beat Humphrey, I was in the army on a Nike missile base outside of Philadelphia. What a year that was – Martin Luther King had been shot in April, Robert Kennedy in June, and George Wallace was a strong third party candidate. Vietnam was hot, the civil rights movement was struggling, and the Democratic convention was marred by riots. It was interesting that Nixon ran as the “law and order” candidate.

Over the years I have seen and heard presidential candidates from all sides as they try to win over the people of this country. What a president can do, or not, depends a great deal on his/her relationship to Congress. It seems that over the last twenty years there has been more division than cooperation.

This election is the most divisive of my life time. Not so much Republican versus Democrat, but who we are as a nation. This election can define what it means to be an American, what America stands for, and what lies ahead for this country. I do not recall any other election that had the potential of destroying the foundation on which this nation was built.

We have been, and hopefully will continue to be, a diverse nation. Yes, there have been times when groups were segregated, minorities maligned, those different persecuted. But, while some of that exists, and probably will as long as humans do, overall we have moved past those divisions and coexist as Americans.

We, as I love to do, can argue viewpoints, disagreeing on issues, but then turn and work side by side to accomplish that which needs to be done. This is one of the things that has kept America strong.

Our rights, regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, race, or politics are protected in word and the more diverse we become, the more we all need to see that protection is ensured in reality and does not erode.

This country has a lot of issues. Issues that need to be intelligently discussed and solved. But like the song says, “if everybody is talking and no one is listening”, solutions are impossible.

For me this election comes down to a choice. Continue to work on issues together, respect each of our differences, protect individual rights, and take the high road. Or, make a u-turn and give in to bigotry, hate, fear, divisiveness, essentially erasing all that has made this country great.

And here is the crux of it all. No matter what you think, our next president will either be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I know there are other people running that seem more appealing to some and I agree the top choices may not be the best. I understand not voting for either, or even not voting is sending a message. The truth, however, is that this race is closer than anyone could have predicted. If this nation is to take the high road then Trump needs to be defeated. A vote for anyone other than Clinton, makes that too much of a possibility  to even think about.

When all is said and done, I hope we will be on the high road. U-turns never get us ahead.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Candace Williams, author permalink
    October 31, 2016 9:53 am

    Certain factions in Congress are vowing to make a Clinton presidency “a living hell” by continuing and increasing (!) their obstructionist agenda. Unfortunately much of the general population thinks that’s a good thing. I don’t have much hope for our country, Don, when Orwellian slogans like, “Make America Great Again” mean (wink wink, nudge nudge) racism’s okay, and in general, hatred of “the Other” (aka scapegoating) incites violence, not to mention creates laws (roll-back of Civil Rights,) that make the U-turn possible. In sum, I am sore afraid.

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