It is November. That means Thanksgiving and all of the rituals thereof, including that gratitude thing that somehow falls by the wayside the other 11 months out of the year. In addition to being the month of Thanksgiving, November is also the month of elections, and in the case of 2012, the all-important Presidential Election. Last night Josh asked me several times for my predictions for the elections this year. My prediction for our president was simple and jaded. Kind of like me: "I predict that the bad guy will get elected." Josh immediately wanted to contend the issue of "bad", which was a heinous mistake on his part, since he would be hard pressed to prove to me that we have anything other than "Bad Guys" running for president this year. Wisely he moved on to the subject of the Parks and Recreation issue that would mean passing a bond, but which I am ok with since A) I don't own land and B) I wouldn't have to get out of the Deschutes River and carry my floaty to the other side of the Colorado Street Spillway anymore. I also kind of like the idea of foregoing the horror stories of Entire Families Lost In the Spillway that we are relegated to reciting every year, but I have a sneaking hunch those stories will remain and grow exponentially, long after the spillway is removed. It makes the float more of a rush anyway. For a minute. So I kind of hope that that one passes, but since I don't know that I should be allowed a vote, not being a homeowner, I really shouldn't gripe either way, right?
It occurred to me though, as I drug myself out of bed this morning (which seemed cruel and unusual since it's my day off) that today is a Very Important Day for our country. I don't feel like it is so important WHOM gets elected, as much as the fact that SOMEBODY does, and that we, as Americans, can get past the idea that the other guys are idiots and realize that we all signed up for this way of operating. And I have to say, in spite of some hiccups and scraped knees along the way, we've got a pretty great place to live. I get very angry at the conservatives in my life who refer to the "moron" Democrats, and how one would have to be completely stupid to vote for Obama. I get equally irritated with my liberal friends who insist that only a mindless imbecile could see clearly to vote for Romney. To me it is an insult to my friends and family that any one person's political beliefs would somehow grant the right of the thinker to judge the ideals of another human being. I understand believing something strongly. For instance, I will never be able to relate to the preference of milk chocolate over dark chocolate, but who am I to decide that YOUR taste buds are somehow inferior to my own? In fact, who is to say that there is any objectivity to taste any more than there is to an economic plan or a moral high ground? I know that I really rub Christian Fur the wrong way on this one, but I cannot support the idea that the same God who made so many crazy different people and cultures really only recommends one way of doing things. It just doesn't jive. I have come to the point where I can actually appreciate a spirited debate between two opposing views when the debaters have the maturity to believe that a difference of opinion is not grounds for a break in relationship. Case in point, my brother and (nearly) sister in law, who not only ascribe to opposite political views, but they are actually employed by campaigns of opposing parties. And yet, they live together, and apparently, at least once or twice a year, they get along. I love this. I really, absolutely do. It makes me want to disagree with Josh just so we can say how mature our relationship is. Unfortunately we will have to pick that up when he starts speaking to me again.
I guess the bottom line for me is that I love our differences. I love that I know and care about just as many democrats as I do republicans and libertarians and green partiers (which sounds way more fun for some reason). It is our differences, and the liberty we have to express them, to live them, to vote on them, that makes our country great and unique and amazing. I have been to other places in the world. Even other democratic places, but I will take this one. Yes, we are young and cocky and headstrong and definitely have some maturing to do on the international stage. But we are strong, and we learn from our mistakes. We push ahead and we pull together. We have the option to do these things. We are not told how to live. Nor should we ever be. I find it amusing that so many conservative Christians with their lists of rules and violations and scriptural policies are usually the ones who denounce big government and interference. The heart of their belief is self-government, and in this I believe 100%. The liberal side creates legislation for how to legislate, and offers governmental guidance and rules to help in their effort to maintain equal rights and liberties, in which I also believe. So both parties get confused, both live in their dichotomies - but ultimately, I believe that both seek the same Best Interest for our country, and so I am grateful. And I am absolutely unworried about the outcome of this election, because no matter which "bad guy" we elect, ultimately, he isn't the one calling the shots, we are. Josh thinks that I am naive and don't understand the political process. He couldn't be more correct. But I think that I understand humanity, and the idea that no matter how bad it gets screwed up every four years, there's another four years to fix it. Or make it worse. Either way, it's up to us to make the best of it and be the best American People yet.
My recommendation to every American is to watch two movies. First, watch Idiocracy. This is what we can be. Make the choices to not. Then watch Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. This is ALSO what we can be. Make the choices to. I also recommend popcorn and Holiday Junior Mints with these movies. If you only want to watch one movie, then by all means, go with Jimmy Stewart. I don't even feel the need to explain that one. If you need to borrow it, I have it. If you can't find Holiday Junior Mints, you can always steal the leftover halloween candy from your kids. If you don't have kids, please steal it from mine. Or just steal my kids. One day I will discuss the horrors of children who hoard candy from Halloween to Easter to Halloween, Every. Single. Year. But for now, I have a day off to be thankful for. Or most of a day off, since my boss just called me in to work this afternoon. Apparently my efforts at inefficiency are not working, as they don't seem to be able to function without me. As long as I can wear sweatpants til 9:52, I won't complain.