A Lesson about Elections

As I write this, we are about a week away from the 2018 midterm elections. Is it just me, or does it seem as if there is an extraordinary amount of craziness going on right now? One of the reasons many might join me in feeling this way is based on what is being reported these days, and how it is reported. Almost everything has a political connection. In days gone by hurricanes, for example, were terrible forces of nature, and professional sports were opportunities for legendary stories, and joy or heartbreak, depending on how your favorite team did the day before. Today, we have all heard frequent political implications on both of these, as well as just about everything else.

One could easily think that everyone in the country is deeply tied to one political party or the other, and that people in neighborhoods, offices, schools and everyplace else are lined up on one side of a great divide or the other, ready to attack the other side for any number of reasons. Hmm, I guess I didn’t know that. All I can say is my small slice of the world is not like that.

Believe it or not, I think there is something that virtually all of us can agree on. Politics must be good for news, because it is so prevalent throughout the world of media. And without all the in-depth reporting, I would not know that if an election or two goes the wrong way, the entire universe as we know it, might come to a sudden and horrific end (sarcasm intended). Or so it seems.

Sadly, with so much of a circus-like atmosphere around politics, fueled by hyperbole-driven politicians and national news reporters, it is easy to forget how important a strong, well-functioning government is. And with the despicable ways candidates campaign against each another these days, it’s hard to believe that any of them really value the overall institution of government very much.

A good friend of mine was recently telling me how his doctor had advised him to do some regular blood pressure checks, since he came in a bit high during a recent appointment. That was surprising for him, since it was most often perfectly normal. So he would occasionally stick his arm in the cuff at a local drug store and get a reading. Turns out it would indeed fluctuate. On reflecting back, he told me that he realized the times it was higher was after he had recently been listening to the news, especially when there was something political being reported. Now this fellow is not a fanatic – he’s an easy going, good-hearted soul, whom you would find to be a great neighbor, co-worker or friend. All the political cacophony even  impacts really good people like him.

So for the sake of all or our collective sanity, I would like to offer a couple of perspectives. As I look out my windows at the spectacular autumn colors in the trees, let it be known that regardless of all the ugly political noise bombarding us every day, there is still beauty in the world. Take a moment and seek it out. Don’t just smell the roses – savor them. Remind yourself how great it is to live in a country where freedom is still treasured. Be grateful for the freedoms you have. Realize that there are people you love, who have different opinions about issues than you. Relish the fact that you can disagree and still love each other.

Elections are important, and you have the freedom of choice to vote for whomever you want. How cool is that! But for many of you, elections and politics are not the only important thing in your lives. And, regardless of whether your candidates win or lose, rest assured the sun will rise the following morning. That is out of your control. However, within your control is the freedom to choose how you will respond to the election outcomes, and how you can best move on to pursue those other important things, waiting to make your life more interesting and fulfilling.

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