United: Why We As Americans Are Better Than People Say

I think Hillary Clinton will make an amazing president.
As a ‘responsibility’ person I take seriously the choices I make for my life — who to spend time with, how I treat others, what I eat, and where I direct my energy in my brief time upon this earth.
I think, and re-think, possibilities. Every choice has weight, and merit. I try to balance enjoyment with hard work, chocolate cake with salad.
Hillary Clinton may be salad to you.
For me, I’m excited for the first woman president, but I’m most excited because all my reading and studying of the issues (and scandals) has instilled in me a belief that she will be A GREAT PRESIDENT.
Not a good one; a great one.
There been so much noise, and vitriol, and hate that’s it’s hard to come back to two human being interviewing for a job, but that’s what this is. And you don’t have to love all of Clinton’s choices (like every other human being on the planet, she also has sometimes made mistakes), and you certainly don’t have to want to have a beer with her. Just let her do her job. A job every living president, including Republicans, has refused to endorse Donald Trump for — because he’s unqualified. You can admire your nephew’s spark and personality, but if he fails at the lemonade stand, you can’t let him run the Buick dealership.
A word about Trump: I don’t hate him. While I personally never would want someone so rude and hurtful in his words to women and minorities representing us and speaking for us, I understand a part of his appeal. I grew up reading Doonesbury, and ‘The Donald’ was a larger than life, funny character. Later I watched the first season of The Apprentice. Trump was king, issuing interesting challenges and dispensing bite size business wisdom. The credit for that show might go mainly to the producers, but Trump was in his element — engaging, straight-talking, funny.
The White House is in no way his element. The White House isn’t fun. There is no throne. And problems in the Situation Room can’t be solved with bite-sized mon bots.
And so it is his experience and judgement, not the many cruel things he’s said and done, that disqualify him in my mind. He thinks we might should default on the national debt, leave NATO, and go back on our word — our signed treaties — to protect our Asian allies. His ideas seem stark black and white in a grey world — but understanding those shades of grey is imperative to actually addressing and fixing our problems. When your kid suggests you throw that mortgage payment you don’t like into the trash, they think they have a great solution to your problem, but as an adult you know it’s more complicated than that.
Hillary Clinton is the adult. She’s the person you want as your doctor, your accountant. She doesn’t have to be your first pick, but between the two people interviewing who have a chance of winning — in my mind, in my judgement, she’s the only choice. I also think that she will be one of the most hardworking, problem-solving, and reaching-across-the-aisle presidents we’d seen. I actually think she and Paul Ryan would be a great team.
My last word though, is actually why I wrote this. It’s been a long, LONG, ugly campaign. The mud is now so deep that we can’t see the two human beings in this race anymore. So much mud has been thrown, in fact, that us bystanders have gotten it on us too. Well, it’s time — on this penultimate day before the election — to wash it off and show everyone, including those who don’t share our beliefs, how beautiful we are.
We’re Americans. I live in the deep south, in a conservative, rural area, and I live next to some of the kindest, most caring, most community-minded people I’ve ever met. I also work in a college town, a place with liberal people who work hard to improve each other’s lives and look after one another.
We’re a country full of good people, and we’re passionate about what we believe in. But I think we have a power greater than passion, a power those who lead us and write about us and ‘decide’ who we are don’t see — our power is a good-natured, bullshit-detecting, humanity.
Almost all of us crossed over oceans — in person or in our blood — to get here. It was often cramped, with bad food and little reason for cheer. But we soon-to-be Americans, we found a little light and huddled around it and sung and told stories and laughed together. We were better, and more beautifully-souled, than any hardship.
We’ve survived great wars because everyone pitched in and went to work. We’ve become more just, even though the path to justice always means having to examine ourselves and allow ourselves to change in sometimes painful ways. We Americans discard our outdated beliefs to make new friends — when was the last time you judged someone for being Irish or Scottish?
We Americans carry every bit of the best part of the founding fathers’ vision — and we do it with a what-can-you-do? smile and a shrug.
We come together in times of tragedy. We laugh in shared joy. We soar when joy finally comes to Mudville and the Cubs bring it home. We are better, more real, than any model. We are more forgiving and full of grace than makes for good news-story prophesying. We get along better, work harder, laugh more, and love each other in ways that those who seek to understand us can never understand.
It’s been a busy, loud, divisive, sometimes fun, and often disheartening time. But it’s almost over. And tomorrow half the country, including maybe myself, will see our team lose the big game.
So be extra kind this week. Be extra American. Help your Trump-loving neighbor mow her lawn and listen to her concerns about the future. Buy your Clinton-loving neighbor a beer and listen to his concerns about the future. We have much to learn from each other. For every winner you hug, hug a loser.
The pundits, the media, and even the candidates themselves pit this as a larger-than-life struggle between two unyielding, opposing forces. And while it’s important to fight for what you believe in, it’s as important to live your beliefs, your values.
We’re better than they say we are. We fight and love and work together every day. We help each other cross streets, hail taxis, get directions. We help each other grieve, and celebrate, and achieve.
So whoever you vote for, know that America, and Americans, will be just fine. We’ve seen worse, and we’ve done better. This election hasn’t been our finest hour, but that’s because our finest hours still lie before us. America is the greatest country on Earth because we’re part of the greatest experiment on Earth and one that each of us is an integral part of — and that is still in its infancy. We are America and we’re awesome — each and every one of us is awesome.
So vote. Then — win or lose — find a light. Gather with the victors and the defeated in love and shared humanity. Sing a song, share a drink, help someone you don’t know.
We choose the way forward, and as Americans that way is always up. As Americans we also know that the road upward is often hard, and full of hurt and disappointment. We are ever experiencing growing pains, but that is because we are still growing.
I’ve got you. We’ve got this. We didn’t became great by lacking bravery. We became great by rising to every challenge.
This election? It will define us for now. Our choices are important. We are responsible for picking a qualified, knowledgeable leader. But most of all we are responsible for each other. I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. I know this will be a tough week, but together we shall be what we have always been — in spite of injustice, inequality, division, and hate. We shall be one.
And let no one tear us asunder.
Now, who wants to go for a beer?

Published by katherinecerulean

Novelist, founder of The Athens Writers Association, and enthusiast of all things awesome and magical. Need my help with ANYTHING? Just ask!

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