Happy to report that I raised my three children as good citizens. All three registered, and for two of them, this past Tuesday was their first Freedom Day. One filed by absentee, one voted here in town, and one registered in Tennessee, his new home. He wants to be certain his votes counts where he lives. I reminded all of them that when they were little, they enjoyed going into the voting booth with me, and claiming the sticker of pride “I voted today!” as we exited. I asked the boys to send me a picture of their Badge of Honor. This is Aidan’s badge. Proud of all three!
These are tumultuous times in our community, our state, our nation, and our world. Wars, hurricanes, unemployment, terrorist threats, economic uncertainty, many social issues, and the list goes on. And yet, on days like Tuesday, it is a reminder of what we are all about. Tuesday is what makes us the United States. Tuesday was about exercising our freedom, and our right to vote. Tuesday is what sets us apart from many other countries. It was energizing to see the enthusiasm and the extraordinary turnout at the polls. Powerful media reports of the long lines, and willingness of New York and New Jersey residents making their way to the polling booths, despite the havoc in their lives, was inspiring and courageous. It is part of our national DNA.
My hope is that in the weeks, months, and years ahead, despite Tuesday’s outcomes, is that our county, state and national leaders will come together for the good of all of our citizens. The tumultuous times are not going away over night, we must be confident that things will continue to improve. We are the voters, we need to continue to care and to voice our pleasure or displeasure to our elected officials. Let’s not lose the energy of Freedom Day, and let’s not simply rely on our elected officials to do it all. How do we hold them accountable? And how do we become more engaged, and stay engaged, not just on Election Day.
I hope the social media world becomes kinder again, and despite whether or not your candidate won or lost, we focus on the result — a peaceful world; a world where we have respect for all people and for our differences; a world where we care for our children, our parents, and those less fortunate; a world that is thriving economically. A world that resonates of simpler days.
The only downside to all of it being over is that Saturday Night Live is never as funny post-election…