I’ll click “send” on this post at 7 p.m. CST – the time polls begin to close on the east coast. Of course, this stops predictions of who’s leading, winning, etc.
In the morning we citizens will be stuck with whoever it is we elected. In my lifetime, there has never been such a stark contrast as this year….
Whoever “wins”, we still all lose if the prevailing tradition continues, especially if we collectively decide that there is a “winning” and a “losing” side.
In the first sentence of my Oct 30 post, I used the phrase “fork in the road” about tonights election results.
I’ve been thinking about that choice of words.
We run political campaigns and manipulate attitudes as if we were in some kind of Super Bowl, where one side wins, and the other loses. We forget that we are all in the same country, part of the same world.
For some years, I’ve felt as though I’m on the losing side. But what if my side wins tonight, small or large, state or national?
Last week a long-time casual friend and his wife were in a single car accident on a country highway in Wisconsin. There was no fork in that road, but for some as yet unclear reason their car veered off the road at apparently high speed, went in the ditch, hit a driveway approach, went airborne, hitting trees which stopped it cold. Both were dead at the scene. Something awful had happened…. Their funeral was a few days ago.
Taking my “fork in the road” analogy and applying it to the accident, here is another scenario: one “side” will be defined as “winning” tonight – whatever the race, wherever it occurs.
Instead of everybody taking that “winning fork”, our entire nation now tends to careen forward, running into woods, in effect killing ourselves in the process.
I think the analogy can move beyond our nation’s border, to the greater world of which we are apart. We are not a single dominant car on the highway of humanity. The car in the accident was a 2017 Jaguar. It didn’t save the couple who were killed.
So, consider the U.S. the Jaguar (at least in our minds) and around us are all variations of vehicles from carts pulled by animals, to junkers, to new cars of all sorts. Any one of these vehicles has the capacity to assist us a little, or do us in, in all sorts of different ways.
We cannot drive down the highway accounting only for ourselves, pretending the present is the future.
We’re best off to consider the consequences of a “win-lose” approach to an immensely complex country and world.
Tomorrow morning I’ll wake up to who won and who lost. What greets me tomorrow will be motivating me as to future course of action.
POSTNOTE: So, why the Pumpkins from Halloween as this posts illustration? A friend and his family do up Halloween in a pretty big way, and last week we went over to admire the work – and it is a lot of work, and it is admirable. They are (I think) “conservative”; we are “liberal”. They don’t do the community event to earn praise; we didn’t visit to win any favor from them. It was a pleasant trip.
You’ll note that about half the pumpkins in the photo are on the left, the other half on the right. Which is left, and which is right? It depends from what direction you’re viewing them….
Does the side with the five pumpkins win? Or was there a reason why the other side had the four, and if the four were removed because they were losers, would that interfere with the symmetry of the display?
Foolish questions? Or is there something worth talking about?
I always think of that Eagle that represents our country: how well would it fly if it only had one functional wing? What if the head had only one wing to command? My friend, Mary Lou Nelson, who presented it to the MN Landscape Arboretum ten years ago, named it the Messenger of Peace, rather than calling it the hunter – what the sculptor had named it – or the dominator, or some other such reference to being in charge. Her renaming was on purpose.
Cannot we all work together? It seems so obvious.
Take some time tonight, or later, to look into the civility project of the University of Arizona. My legislator, who retires this year, had this as her passion as a legislator. I gathered there wasn’t much interest…you know, winners, losers….