I keep thinking back to 4 years ago. The first time I voted. When I read everything everywhere and after careful thought and preparation, I felt excited and certain about who I should vote for. I was so thrilled to take part in this democratic election ritual.
And I remember when President Obama won. I remember I was in the computer lab in the library typing up some paper, when suddenly there was a shout from somewhere in the foyer. Someone rejoicing. And then the word spread like fire throughout the library and whispers exploded in joy or disappointment. I remember my pride: in my country, my fellow citizens, in people in general. For making what was, in my opinion, the best decision. I remember recognizing that this was a historic moment in our country's history. And it proved me wrong in some of my doubts about the goodness and pureness of people's intentions and views.
In short, I was ecstatic. Full of hope and optimism for the future.
So, things haven't gone quite as planned. I'm not as intense about my feelings in the election this year. I still support President Obama. But maybe with a little less enthusiasm.
Not because I actually think he has been a terrible President like some people. Or because I am less certain about which candidate I support. I am just as sure who I want to win. And I think that Obama has done some good, though certainly he has not been perfect.
Still, I am not so enthused. I am excited to vote. I am grateful for this privilege to express my voice about who will lead my country. I am not unaware of how blessed we are to have the right to participate in the election of our leaders and to express our hopes, fears, disappointments and discontents. It's a great thing.
Only, the difference this time is that I am less hopeful about our attitude as citizens. And the election season hatefulness has not encouraged me much.
I remember how much President Bush was raked over the coals during his Presidency. I guess I thought that was just because people were so completely unhappy with him. I didn't expect the same negativity to continue almost without missing a beat into a new presidency.
I don't pretend that there are not reasons to complain and find fault. In fact, that's my very point. There always will be. There always have been. Unfortunately, if that is where we continue to focus, I truly believe that we will never be satisfied. We will never progress. There will never be real, meaningful change in our nation.
So, I will vote. And I will hope and pray for (what I consider) a favorable outcome in the elections.
But what I want, more than anything, is peacefulness. Helpfulness. No matter what happens, I hope I can do my best to be an asset to my country. I hope my voice can spread hope and love and joy. I hope that even if I disagree with some ideas, that I will find solutions. I hope that we as a nation can gripe a little less and change a little more.
As my mom always taught me, "Be a problem solver!"
Her advice never goes out of style.
Happy voting! Be safe out there!
Oh, and also this: