I’ve never known a political season like the one we’re in today.
I’ve heard stories of political differences separating families, separating friends, but until this summer those stories always seemed like urban legends, like useful morality plays that might help illuminate some of the darker corners of our humanity.
But as this summer gave way to fall, the stories have become more plausible. I’ve seen friends divided by their choice of presidential candidates, been tempted myself to sever contact because I can’t understand why a friend could possibly support that one. And I know others have been tempted to do the same to me.
This campaign season will leave scars when it passes, no matter who wins. It will leave scars on our country’s heart and on its face, and if we aren’t careful, it will open wounds we may not be able to heal before our generation moves on.
The president we elect in November will sit in office for four to eight years. Their legacy may last a generation. If they prove themselves a great president–a development that seems unlikely–we might feel their impact for a hundred years or more.
But we will remain, and our families will follow us, and the decisions we make today, and next week, and next year, will cause ripples that may span the globe many times over. It’s our actions, more than those of the president, that will determine our future.
It’s important to choose a president and other officials whom we feel will represent our interests to the country and the world. It’s more important to show our children how to stand up for their own interests.
It’s important to choose a president who will guard our Constitution. It’s more important to guard it ourselves with our voices, our future votes, our bodies if necessary. And to teach our children it’s a document worth guarding.
It’s important to choose a president who will use our nation’s great influence to make the world a better place. It’s more important to use our own influence to make our own homes, workplaces, and gathering places better.
It’s important to choose a president who will make our long-term security a top priority. It’s more important to recognize our responsibility to preserve our own long-term security and that of our families.
It’s important to choose a president who will respect our freedoms and work to preserve them. It’s more important to exercise those freedoms to ensure the president and congress can’t take them away.
It’s more important to recognize that the more of us who are free to pursue our dreams, the safer we all are.
It’s more important to recognize we are all in this together.
It’s more important to reach out to each other with respect and love, to recognize we are each unique and each important and each a vital part of our future.
Let’s move forward, and let’s make sure we focus on what’s important. But let’s keep in mind where our real power, our real responsibility, resides.