Thoughts to Ponder
“Years ago fairy tales all began with ‘Once upon a time…’
–now we know they all begin with, ‘If I am elected.’”
We’ve recently ended another presidential election season, the most contentious in my memory. That’s not to say it has been the worst in U.S. history. There was a lot of name calling leading to states seceding from the Union in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was the candidate of the newly formed Republican party. Recently I was listening to “The Thomas Jefferson Hour” on NPR and heard an interesting story.
The election of 1800 was a three-way race among Jefferson, John Adams seeking re-election and Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton started a rumor that Jefferson had died. Communications being what they were at that time, Jefferson first heard of this several weeks later when he received a letter from a friend. He immediately sat down and wrote letters to several people telling them that he was, indeed, still alive and still a candidate. Those letters also took several weeks to find their recipients. But they had the desired effect. As a result Jefferson was elected to be our country’s third president.
So, should we be surprised at the recent political shenanigans we just witnessed? I’d guess not. The difference is that we now live in a 24-hour news cycle with information coming from many sources. As the election drew near I found myself becoming irritable with my great-grandsons who were just being their age. I was cranky at work. Each newspaper article I read or news program I watched made the situation worse. The vitriolic words spewed by both candidates and their supporters kept my insides in a twist. Yet, I felt compelled to stay informed, though I limited my exposure.
To do otherwise would be detrimental to my health, so I made a decision to take steps to improve my mental outlook. About a week before the election I began to pray to accept the outcome whatever it might be. On election day I went to the polls early and immediately felt a slight easing in my distress knowing that I had done my part in making this momentous choice. That evening I periodically checked election news to learn what was happening, then went to bed at my usual time. The next morning I clicked on the television long enough to learn who had been elected. I asked God to guide Mr. Trump as he assumed his new duties. These small steps eased my distress significantly.
Healing came Thursday evening when I attended a 4th grade Veteran’s Day program at my oldest great-grandson’s school. The children were decked out in patriotic vests and presented a program of U.S. history and patriotic songs. Each child had made a list of relatives who had served in the military. Those names covered an entire wall of the gym. At one point in the program each service’s song was played and audience members who had served in that particular branch stood to roaring applause. Then we were treated to a slide show of photos of many of those relatives in their uniforms. The program concluded with the audience standing as one child’s grandfather sang “God Bless the USA.” I was not the only person wiping tears of joy from my eyes.
As I write this, I’m crying, but my tears are healing months of distress and worry. I’m still nervous, but for my own sanity I must trust that we can survive this election and continue to grow as a nation. I trust that this will continue to be our legacy.
Spirit: Most of us have lived the past several months in pain and distress. You have shown us that the human race has survived worse and continues to thrive. Each of us, no matter who we are or where we live, has the ability to change the world just a little bit for the better. Please keep reminding us of that responsibility and privilege. And, so it is.
*Warner, Carolyn, Treasury of Women’s Quotations, 1992, Prentice Hall, page 239
© by Sharon D. Dillon, November 12, 2016
Sharon D. Dillon, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as a paperback or e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.
Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.