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 TodaysMama.com. 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.