Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Open Letter to My Conservative Friends

Dear Conservative Friends,

It gets better.

President Barack Obama won reelection last night in another close race, with a country divided, and after an exhausting campaign.

Instantly my social media feeds lit up with cries of happiness and anger over the results, but this is not a gloating post.

I wanted to reach out to you: you worked so hard for your candidate, you studied the issues and made a decision for which you felt so much conviction. I watched you encourage your friends to look at the arguments and facts, urging them to vote for the future of America. I did the same thing. Even more than our differences over policy and programs, I am ever encouraged by citizens who take their rights seriously and act on their principles.

And yet the despair I read in your updates, emails, and messages touched me, because I once felt just like you:

It was November of 2004, and even though Kerry wasn’t my ideal candidate, I worked and voted for him anyway. I defended him at work, often as the only person leaning his way. I was sick about what George W. Bush had done to our country, it was abhorrent to me. And when he was reelected I thought my heart would break. Couldn’t America see what it had done? It felt apocalyptic. I cried at work. I cried in the car. My husband asked if I wanted to move to a swing state. I couldn’t understand why the election was even close; it was just shocking. Months went by before I could listen to President Bush on the radio, or see his face on TV (before the election I would listen even when I disagreed, but afterwards it was all too much.) I was in physical pain.

And then, gradually, it got better. I could read a news items and not reflexively click away. I could hear his voice on the radio and not jam my finger on the dial. I even started listening to the work he wanted to accomplish, and to seek for the best. I didn’t move to a swing state. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t upset at the outcome, but I understood that even though my chief executive represented everything I disagreed with, he was still my president. I still owed it to my country to listen and participate. I even found common ground.

Turns out, America didn’t die an untimely death. We didn’t descend into a miasma of jingoism. Even though my personal belief is that we paid a price for the 2004 election through the mire of the Great Recession, (and you are free to disagree,) my country is resilient. We might be a divided country, but it has been worse: at one point we had a senator beating another one almost to death in the Senate Chamber and half the states left the union; we are not in danger of such division. I suspect that even if much of the things that you fear come to pass, America will be just fine. America has great things to accomplish. We are still a light on a hill.

Maybe it still hurts too much to read this letter right now. I understand, I really do. It hurts to lose when you believe your cause is just, as I well know. I hope you don’t withdraw, because your voice is important, intelligent, and valuable. We all love our families and worry for our children. We are a better country when we listen to each other and work for the common good, and the President needs to hear your voice.

With you in the Republic,


Disclaimer: This letter does not represent the editorial position of The TodaysMama team is as politically divided as the country, but we work together happily and with great love for each other every day. We may not always agree, but we always listen, and are better for it. 

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Comments (14)

  1. Helen H Gordon 11/14/2013 at 5:58 pm

    This letter reveals a beautiful example of a person who looks beyond the either-or thinking of party politics and sees the larger picture of the nation we love. I applaud her ability to empathize even as she disagrees with candidates and is disappointed in election results. I wish all people who love the USA would get behind our president and help him succeed.

  2. Pingback: This Week for Dinner – Weekly Meal Plans, Dinner Ideas, Recipes and More!: {Food for Thought Friday} All You Need is Love

  3. The Atomic Mom 11/08/2012 at 10:59 pm

    As much as I would like to agree with you, you are wrong Carina, dead, flat out wrong. But hey, you made your choice as did others, choices have consequences. I hope for the sake of your children, you are prepared to live with the taxes and the debt burden that are coming, that’s all. Now excuse me as I go prepare for my husband to lose his job, and I am absolutely not kidding about that either.

  4. Amy Allen Johnson 11/07/2012 at 11:44 pm

    Am I too jaded?

    Presidents come and go, they promise/try to make big changes but we have a system that does a pretty good job of checks and balances (a cause for gridlock at times?)

    I can accept national outcomes more readily than local issue outcomes. Sure the nation is diverse, but why can’t all my neighbors see the local issues the same way?

    Am I really wishing for a more homogenous community?

    No way. And I’ll be okay, just like the country.

  5. thedoseofreality 11/07/2012 at 2:19 pm

    I think this is such a well-written post, and I am really glad I read it. I am saddened by the first comment so much that it made me cry. I worry that the hatred that seems to exist for Obama (never mind the fallacies I read about him) can never be overcome. While I remember feeling very similarly to the way you felt in 2004 (and 2000 if we are being completely honest), I never felt hatred for President Bush. I never attempted to label him as “other”. I always saw him as a man who thought differently than me about very serious issues, but who at his core was a good man. I don’t believe that the feeling is the same today, and it honestly makes me really sad.

    • thedoseofreality 11/07/2012 at 2:20 pm

      I realize now it is the not the first comment (just the first one I saw), so the comment I was actually talking about was left by Rebecca.

  6. AJ Wilcox 11/07/2012 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks Carina! That was a wonderfully-written article! Much appreciated. I can appreciate your sentiment of wanting to move to a swing state. I’m a conservative in Utah and wish that my vote truly mattered. The idea of my vote counting is attractive.

    Your perspective is very apt. I’m not one of the doomsday folks who says the world is going to end, but I was disheartened by the choice of the majority. This helps keep it in perspective.

  7. Julia Stewart 11/07/2012 at 11:20 am

    What we can hope for at this time is that all politicians – left and right – come together to stop a fiscal cliff that will plunge our economy, our future and the hope that our children will have a better life than us into despair. At this point our government is parallel to the household that has maxed all of its credit cards, taken out massive loans and continues to do so with no hope that their income will ever be able to pay them off.

  8. Rebecca 11/07/2012 at 9:55 am

    The difference is shocking. Bush, lame though he was, wasn’t pillaging this special needs family or supporting a 7 century old pseudo religious political ideology with a history of raping the wives in their own dead husband’s blood, then enslaving both they and their daughters in sexual bondage. Kinda NOT a comparison. Real families are literally going without meals every single day due to Obamacare mandate increases!! This is reality for seizure prone kids, and it increases their seizure activity. How THAT can be anyone’s political platform in favor of repetitive abortions and gay sex is beyond comprehension. How can we find “common ground” when there are no basic values for respecting the life of a small disabled child??? Flabbergasted and heartbroken don’t begin to cover it. Not one liberal friend came over to hold my blue seizing child they voted to starve. That will never be forgotten. Its THAT black and white. Perspective? Tell that to my seizing kid who hasn’t spoken in 8 years and 7 months. Livid special needs mom who had no more to take.

    • Dog-gone 11/07/2012 at 10:15 am

      Rebecca – you obviously have some serious “issues” that no politician can cure. Please seek help.

    • Carol 11/12/2012 at 12:44 pm

      As another mom with a severely special needs child, I have to disagree wholeheartedly with Rebecca. Yes, our income has been cut into yet again and so that leaves less to spend on food…but that has happened with every President since I’ve had children! My husband was laid off for a year in 2003….and while we struggled mightly, food was never an issue. We scrounged for money to pay rent, utilities (including spending many days “playing” Little House with the kids and not having any lights on to save a few pennies)…but food wasn’t a worry for me. It did however serve a SERIOUS blow to my ego….but we went and asked for help at food banks…..many of them, for many months. I was in tears many of those first trips, but ALWAYS there was someone at the food bank that understood…patted my arm, gave me a quick hug, or just wryly smiled at me in sympathy. So…we went many months living in darkness when the windows didn’t provide enough light….and we sold almost everything that someone would buy…but we never went hungry.

      When my husband finally found another job we vowed to continue conserving until we had a year of income in a bank account…..I got a part time job working opposite hubby to speed that process up. Never again will we let a job rule our lives like it did. No circumstances aren’t as golden as they were years back, but you cannot blame one President….the last three or four men contributed to the mess that Obama inherited….remember the bank bailout happened BEFORE Obama, but he’s constantly blamed for it…but he hadn’t even been elected yet! Stop blamming others for your plight….and find a solution. Many of us are working extra hours or extra jobs…or some like me who was a stay at home mom for a decade before hubby got laid off in 2003, went back part time and are still working part time for the extras we want…not need). There are many ways to be with your child when they need you but still earn money….so much more so than half a decade ago even! The internet opens up so many ways for a mom to be home AND be working at the same time. This post is already too long to go into details how, but do some research and find something that works for YOU. And EMPOWER YOURSELF to do what you must.

      And while you’re researching, look around at other countries…..America has a lot of problems, yes, but we are still the one with the best prospects for improving OURSELF….but we have to be willing to work for it. Americans have an entitlement mindset that really works against us if we don’t recognize it and change it so that we make our future for ourself instead of waiting for someone to fix it for us.

      • Helen Gordon 11/14/2013 at 6:07 pm

        Bravo, Carol! You and your family are much to be admired. Any of us can be hit with hard times (my grown daughter had no job and no insurance when she had a heart attack and got a hospital bill for over 62 thousand dollars!) But we are grateful that she could get Medicaid and unemployment insurance until she gets back on her feet. Obama is not to blame for the debts piled up by his predecessors on futile wars and giveaways to the wealthy.

  9. Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig 11/07/2012 at 8:58 am

    My only update on Facebook last night read: “In times like these, it helps to remember there have always been times like these.” (Paul Harvey) I think everyone posting doomsday/”i hope this country is still free in four years” updates need a little time and perspective. Thanks for sharing yours.

  10. Krista Swan 11/07/2012 at 8:57 am

    You have stated exactly how I feel, and that was exactly how I felt in 2004. Despair and physical pain.
    Thank you so much for writing this.