–by Mary Helen Darah
PUBLICATION DATE: Oct 30, 2018
I have a framed poster in my home office that I have had since high school, which makes it a decade old. I’ll give you a moment to step back before the lightning strikes. I got it on a trip to Washington D.C. from a restaurant called Clyde’s. The pub has been around for over 50 years and is historically known for being the hot spot and watering hole for bipartisan meetings, debates and fun. My bit of framed memorabilia consists of an elephant, clad in a pinstriped suit and elegant tie holding a martini and a donkey donning a leisure suit and bow tie hoisting a beer. The two symbols of both political parties look as if they are saying “cheers” to shared commonalities and perhaps even (gasp) friendship. The words of country singer Kenny Chesney come to mind every time I walk into my workspace, “Call your mom, buy a boat, drink a beer, make a friend, can’t we all get along.”
Checks and balances
It seems lately that the sharing of ideas, along with our system of checks and balances that was so brilliantly designed by our country’s founding fathers, is not something being toasted. I’m a big believer in “checking” and maintaining balance. My children, three daughters to be exact, have greatly benefited from their own take on this system. I cannot count the numerous times that outfits, photos on social media and behavior have been “called out” by the three siblings. I often wonder what my role in the family is when I have an older daughter who once told her younger sibling, “Are you serious? What kind of guy do you think you are going to attract wearing that?” I truly believe having people in your life who love you enough to make you ponder about your life choices and decisions can be very beneficial. In fact, living alone, I have experienced the slippery slope of not having someone ask the tough questions such as “Are you really going to eat another chocolate chip scone, and do you think it’s a good choice to pair it with Cabernet?”
Hearing an opposing view can do many things. It can make you look at things from a different perspective, modify your belief or it may strengthen your original opinion. No matter what the outcome, isn’t it a wonderful, downright miraculous thing that in our incredible country we get to express our opinions without the fear of being hauled away and persecuted?
It is very disconcerting how people are being, as my kids would say, “slammed” on social media after conveying their thoughts. In fact, I learned the meaning of a new acronym, “POS,” which means “piece of doo-doo” (I’m paraphrasing of course). I recently read a post regarding a politician stating, “If you like that POS, unfriend me now.” When did it become mandatory that we all have the same opinion? Musically, it is impossible to have harmony if everyone is holding the same note.
In this country, it is highly unlikely that you will be kidnapped, tortured or become the victim of violence on the way to the polls. As Louis L’Amour once said, “To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain,” or in the words of William E. Simon, “Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who do not vote.”
No matter the outcome of the election, I hope you afford your fellow Americans the courtesy of free expression, an open mind and the understanding that, even though our differences may be great, we have a lot to cheer about. I for one am going to take Chesney’s advice and call my Mom, (I already have a pontoon boat, the minivan of the boating world), enjoy friends old and new and hope that we can all get along.