The ‘fight’ is only over when we want it to be

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Let’s say your preferred political candidate didn’t win Tuesday. Let’s say you’re convinced we’re all in trouble.

I’ll concede your point. The country, the state, your hometown, your neighborhood, everything. It’s all messed up.

Some people think elections were rigged. Other people think the people who think the elections were rigged are crackpots.

Who is to blame for 8% inflation? $4.25 gas prices? Global warming? Cruddy roads? Unaffordable health care? Low K-12 test scores? COVID-19? 

Those are problems. But then there are REAL problems.

If you picked up this newspaper and are reading this column, you’re probably not worried about a drone strike obliterating your home in the middle of the night. Folks in Kyiv, Ukraine, can’t say the same.

You’re not scratching out a living through multiple seasons of drought. The impoverished folks in the growing Kenyan desert can’t say the same.

Unless you’ve got a place that Hurricane Ian mowed down last month, you’re not picking up old photographs through the rubble that used to be your home. Folks in Fort Myers, Florida, can’t say the same.

You’re not so worried about being sold into a sex trafficking ring by the drug cartel that you’re walking hundreds of miles to a different country. Teenagers in parts of Central America can’t say the same.

For most of us, the day before Election Day isn’t going to be all that much different than the day after Election Day. Unless you’re working for a campaign or for an elected official on the ballot, your job probably didn’t depend on it.

Your car didn’t explode. The buses are still running. Your roof didn’t cave in. Police are still patrolling the streets. If there’s nothing in the fridge, it has nothing to do with how this election turned out.

Drivers (by and large) aren’t blowing the wrong way down the streets at 80. There isn’t open warfare in the streets.

We didn’t participate in an election where we were under physical threat to vote a certain way. You think the people of Russia can say that? How about China?

Would you rather have Vladimir Putin as your leader? Waking up every day scared about losing your life if you speak out for freedoms?

Regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, we’ve got it pretty darn good in the United States of America. It’s easy to forget that. A democratic republic can be messy, but it’s better than blood in the streets.

This isn’t cold comfort for a losing side. This is perspective. We seem to be losing it in the minute-by-minute news cycle we seem to be living in. 

Stop. Quick. Check your phone. What is someone saying on Twitter?

If your side didn’t win, you’re being assured that the “fight” isn’t over.

The fight. What are we really “fighting” for? Why are we always fighting? When will ever “win” this fight? And what do we think we’re winning?

What does victory look like? When do you envision celebrating the spoils?

Answer that for yourself. Politics isn’t a game of territorial pride like organized sports. We’re not slipping on our team jerseys two years from now to go through this all over again for bragging rights.

We should be selecting good people to work through common issues.

Again, maybe your preferred candidate didn’t win. What were you hoping to get out of him or her that you don’t think you’ll get from the winner? Try to work with who did get elected. Write an email. Call a staffer. Attempt to make headway on that issue.

He or she may surprise you.

If they don’t, there’s always the next election. Talk with family members, friends, acquaintances. Listen to what they have to say. Share perspectives. Share experiences.

Our political figures are often reflective of the people who support them. If you don’t like the divisive, vitriolic tenure of today’s politics, change your own tenor.

We don’t need to “fight” with anyone. Listen to everyone. Work with the willing. 

We’ll likely get better results out of our election choices, even if our preferred candidate didn’t win.

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