Happy election day (or week, or month, or inauguration year, depending on when you’re reading this)!
By the end of today, this week, or at the very least, this month, we will have the results of the election. No matter who has won, roughly half of the country is going to be very angry, upset, frustrated, and disappointed.
Whether you are on the “winning side” or the “losing side” there is a near certainty that you know, care about, and regularly interact with someone who is on the other side. Once upon a time, Americans knew how to see past their differences, agree to disagree, and respect one another and opposing opinions. To continue to grow and succeed as a country, we must re-learn that which we have forgotten.
The best example I have ever seen of this was my father. He supported Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.
The first time I saw him after the election, we were sitting in living room of my parents’ home and I asked him how he felt about the election results. I’ll never forget what he told me. “I didn’t vote for President Obama, and I don’t agree with many of his policies, but the country has decided, and he has been elected. No matter what I think of him or of his policies, I love my president. I respect him, and the office which he holds. And I hope and pray for him as he tries to guide our country in the right direction, that he will be successful.”
Even at the time, my father was in the minority. Many conservatives laugh about how liberals reacted when President Trump was elected in 2016.
They reminisce on Barack Obama’s two terms as President of the United States, and how they approached that period with dignity, forgoing insults, and complaints. The only problem is that it isn’t true. I remember consistently, during Obama’s presidency, hearing conservatives assert that Barack Obama was “the antichrist” or the “fulfillment of the white horse prophecy.” Suffice it to say, it has been a while since we, as Americans, have done a very good job of loving our officials, respecting them and their office, and wishing them the best as they try to guide our country.
Loving and respecting our officials and wishing them success does not mean that we must agree with everything that they say or do. It doesn’t mean that we cannot criticize their decisions or disagree with their policies. It simply means that rather than hope that they make a mistake and are impeached, fall ill, or have their efforts to help our country fail, we support them, appreciate their efforts, recognize their successes, and hope for their continued success.
Riots, protests, and complaints about the results will not change them. They will simply show our youth that adults are just as capable of temper tantrums as toddlers are.
So no matter who has just been elected, or which amendments have passed or failed, let us be adults, agree to disagree, love and respect our officials, wish them the best, and focus on the good, rather than the bad.
It won’t change the results, but it may just change how we feel about them, and how we feel about our lives and our situation.
It also may help us to focus on the good around us. And worst case, at least when we try to teach our children that temper tantrums don’t work, we won’t be doing so hypocritically. (Wood is a Serve Daily contributor.)