On Wednesday I received a forward from someone entitled "Dear Red
States..." It was something of a sendup based on the relative
resources of various states vs recent election returns. Here is a
response I wrote to it. Perhaps you'll find something worthwhile in
Two days ago, I would have been hitting the forward button
with glee, passing this on to all my friends of the opposite
persuasion. After all, I've been putting up with the
partisan, spitesmanship, red/blue, black/white, typical
liberal, typical neocon, hate mongering that has divided
this country for far too long. Right up until about 12:20 AM
on the 5th, that is.
What happened then? I came across John McCain delivering his
concession speech. I'd had no use for him or virtually any
other republican for the past twenty years, and I certainly
saw him as the anti-christ for the last twenty weeks. But
this was different. If he had given this speech anytime
within the last three weeks, the election might have been
closer. I don't believe the outcome would have been any
different, but it would have been closer.
As he spoke, I could feel my disdain for the opposition melt
away. As he implored all of his supporters, and all of
America, for that matter, to come together as Americans and
work to make this country what it always should be, notions
of red this and blue that honestly disappeared. I knew at
that moment there would be no gloat emails, no "na-na,
na-na-na" phone calls, no zingers over coffee from me. I'd
heard the call for unity, and I accepted.
About an hour or so later I watched Obama's speech and I was
electrified. I literally felt chills as I listened. His
message was much the same--all for one/one for all,
Americans for America. There was no red, no blue--no black,
no white--no liberal, no conservative. It was about America
and Americans. My path was clearer than ever before. I knew
what I had to do.
My very first self assigned mission is to respond to this
email. Almost none of you knows me. It doesn't matter. I'm
not lecturing, I'm not condescending, I'm not reprimanding.
All I'm asking is to stop and think what this historic
election means--in its entirety. Sure, there's the obvious
and I've already seen some significant insight into it by
one of my daughter's friends. That's given me more hope for
our country than I ever thought I would feel-- certainly not
in the last eight years.
But what's really important to me is the opportunity to bury
the hatchet--the symbolic hatchet that one side or the other
has been using on each other the last twenty years. I'm sick
of it and I'm sick of the implications it bears-- that I'm
unamerican, or that I'm immoral, or that I lack ethics or
judgement because of my ideology. I have been absolutely
sure all along that I wasn't deficient in any of those
departments. But two speeches in the middle of the night
made me understand that no matter how "wrong" I might think
my friend might be about an issue, they are still an
American, they are still moral, and they are still ethical,
and exercise good judgement (usually, including me). It's
time for me to stop painting with those wide sweeps, and
it's time for my friends to stop, too--even if we haven't
So, as amusing and apropos as I might have found the
original post a couple of days ago, can I ask each of you to
consider taking another look at the folks on your email
list? Do they really deserve to be labelled red or blue,
black or white, liberal or conservative? Don't they deserve
to be Americans first. Don't we all deserve that? Didn't all
of us earn that when we exercised our franchise Tuesday,
regardless of which lever we pulled?
To me, the hope of America lies in the answer to the
question, is "Dear Red States" really a message worth
sending? If I, who's carried grudges longer than some of you
have been alive, can forgive twenty years of acrimonious
political insult, so can you. Let's move on to constructive
activism. There is plenty of work to be done.
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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