We are divided.
It is a time of me versus us.
The television in our kitchen hummed with the latest polling results. We’ve sat in this kitchen watching presidential debates, Sunday political news coverage and the political commercials. Most of the time, we have to shut it off when the kids walk in the room or press mute for fear of what may be easily absorbed by our young children. I feel disappointed that this was the tone of the election and the clear divide that has brought ugliness into our homes, neighborhoods, families and social media.
Years ago, I sat along a cement pool deck with a young mother. Our legs dipped in the water as we talked about our lives and the upcoming election. Her response to me about the election was simple, “What is the candidate going to do for me?”
What are they going to do for me?
It is a simple question. How is my own life going to be affected?
I understood that mother’s perspective in the moment, she was unable to see beyond her own privilege and opportunity. Years fast-forward and the woman so concerned about her own future prosperity in the election, found herself desperately needing others to change their perspective both politically and financially, about helping others, specifically her and her children. Her situation was a reminder of how it is much easier to hold tight to what is best for “me” and it is much more difficult to step outside and consider what might be best for all and others.
That “What’s in it for me?” perspective isn’t rare. This election threw a gasoline-soaked rag on the slowly burning fire of the self-absorbed, “me” thinking in our country. It displaced thinking that allowed someone to for a moment, remove themselves from their own privilege and situation and think about someone else.
The election is not about me.
The election is about us.
The election is about stepping outside your own life for a moment and considering our America.
Not my America.
The America for all of our children and their children.
America wasn’t built on “me” thinking. Building America and the rights we have today were built by people who could see beyond their own needs and values. They knew America was about all of us.
I was born on November 5. I was first eligible to vote on the day of my eighteenth birthday, a presidential election day. On November 5, 1872, Susan B. Anthony voted for president and was arrested. She wasn’t just fighting for her own right to vote. She had us future women in mind. She was thinking about my daughter and your daughter; all of our daughters. She fought for us and our future America.
This has been an incredibly divisive time for our country. We’ve been hurt and afraid but we have an important job to do on election day. We need to vote for our America. On election day, there may be long lines, people who intimidate you, but hold true to why you are voting. And if there is an ounce of feeling like you should stay home, don’t. Every vote counts and it is your right and responsibility for our America to use your voice.
This election, I am voting for us and what we can do together.
Thinking together, working together, hoping together, dreaming together and living together. Not just for me but for all of us. That’s what I believe in and how I vote.
I vote for bridges not walls.
I vote for equity.
I vote for women’s rights.
I vote for inclusivity.
I vote for a world where our children can dream big.
I vote for kindness not fear.
I vote for us.
I believe we are stronger together.
This is about us.