Common Ground

On the night before the election all is not quiet, the phones are ringing and the tv ads are still annoying.....

Yes, it is the day before the election.  Tomorrow is very important for our country.

But what is more important is what happens on the days after Tuesday.

I normally do not get political in public, and I will do my best to remain neutral here.  But sometimes things are important....and inspiring.  So I want to share those with you.

Our country has been, for the last 12 years or so, experiencing some tough times.  9/11, Hurricane Katrina, war in Iraq and Afghanistan, stock market crash, Wall Street fiasco and near collapse of a global banking system, a real estate roller coaster, an election in 2000 that divided people and much more.

It seems that more and more, each election, we become a divided nation.  The "sides" are settling further to the right and to the left.  This leaves a moderate, independent, Christian woman like me left smack dab in the middle...and feeling a bit alone.  I have friends & family, all who I love and respect, who are passionate about the Republican platform and candidates... and some who are equally as passionate about the Democratic platform and candidates.  Where it all goes wrong is when I see these people engaging in conversations, on social media sites and at the grocery store, that are not full of honor, care and common respect.

It feels like we lost sight of what makes our country great.

It feels like our country is like this flag looks...cracked, separate and not cared for.

What has happened to our love and respect of our country and what made us what we are....different people with different religious and political views all coming together?

What has happened to our common ground?

We should be able to be a country that doesn't look like 2 toddlers fighting over a toy.  This country needs a mom!!  We need someone who loves both sides passionately, for who they are as individuals, but treats them equally.  We need someone who can wade through the mess of issues and arguments and come up with a compromise.  We need someone who can set aside selfish ideas, past hurts and bitterness and make the best of a situation because they care about both "kids".

How does this happen?





But interestingly, I saw a glimpse of what this could look like today.  I went to downtown Madison today to see the President of the United States.  I have been to many of these rallies over the years.... my first few were Mondale/Ferarro and then a Reagan one....many others throughout the years for both parties.   I love the idea of a country being in awe of, and sitting in respect of, its leaders.

I respect the Office of the President, no matter who is in it.


So back to this morning....

I went downtown in the wee hours with my sister and mom.  As a bonus, we found out my dad was getting to town early for a meeting and going to the rally as well.  What a great coincidence!!  So he joined us on the square.  We stood there, in the beautiful sunny fall morning for hours.  We talked, caught up with each other, laughed, listened to the speeches, chatted with people around us, tapped our feet to the music of Bruce Springsteen and listened to our President together.  We grabbed a quick cup of coffee on our way out of downtown and dad dropped us off at our cars.  It was a great morning!

What does this have to do with politics and the state of our country?  Well...I will tell ya. :)

My parents divorced 17 years ago.  I was 28, was married and had 2 children of my own at the time.  It was a shock to me and hurt deeply when it happened.  I know I am not the only child of divorce, but it is hard for every child-no matter what age they are-when it happens. It was a tough, rocky divorce and be quite honest...divided our family for many years.

I love both of my parents.  I adore them.  They are not perfect, but either am I.... or anyone.

They both are as amazing as they are human.  This divorce was so incredibly difficult for both of them in different ways.  They have come a long way in these 17 years and worked hard to come to the place they are now.  They both have very full, happy lives now and I am happy for them!!

But mornings like today have not happened very much.  As the years have gone on it has gotten a bit better, but nothing like today.  Today, my parents chose to set aside any hurts, disagreements and anger.  They came to a place where their love of their children (and President Obama) far outweighed any awkward feelings that would make them hesitate to spend time together.  They found common ground.

I was so very proud of them today.

I love my parents.


If only the political parties, their supporters and the country would do the same.

If only we could put aside our junk.

If only we could prioritize the country's well being before our own.

If only we could set aside the anger and push past the awkward

     to come to a place of mutual respect.

If only we could all behave in ways that we can be proud of.

If only.......


So, tomorrow......

as you go to vote,

as you watch the tv reports,

as you talk with others about results,

as you go about your day and the days to come....think of these things....


May you come to a place where your love of our country far outweighs your disagreement with someone.


May you respect the new President, whoever it is.


May you work toward behaving more like honoring adults than fighting toddlers.


May you be grateful to live in a country where you are privileged enough to "have a say".


May you be proud of yourselves and those around you.


May we ALL find common ground. 



November 05, 2012 — Sarah Stevens

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