Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Election Edition

I grew up in a politically divided household. One parent tends to side with the Republicans while the other most closely identifies with the Democrats. My parents are opposite in every way. Dad is black; Mom is white. Dad is tall; Mom is short. Dad is from the South; Mom is from the North. Dad is the third of ten children; Mom is an only child. Dad grew up in a family who owned their own construction business; Mom grew up with a mother who worked in a factory. Both are college educated. Both are hard workers and respect each other's differences. These very differences (besides the height -- although, I am the shortest of the cousins on my dad's side -- thanks Mom) have all contributed to the person I have grown up to be. I have always felt like I cannot exclusively identify with one group because I would be denying "half" of myself. My parents' differences have enriched my life and have also affected the way I approach politics. They have always taught me to consider both sides and to vote for the person I feel would do the best job. Even though they identify with opposite parties, they tell me that they evaluate their vote in the same way. I can't say "I grew up in a Republican/Democratic household and have learned to put the most stock in those beliefs." People can say how they grew up does not affect how they vote today, but I don't believe that. I think we are all able to make our own choices, but are most inclined to make the choice that follows the values we inherited.
Since I've been incredibly reflective lately, I decided to take stock of my experiences and my friends prior to this election. I learned that my closest friends from childhood and high school (with the exception of one) are devout Republicans. I considered the fact that my closest friends from college are jumping for joy right now because Obama was just elected to a second term. And, I realized my closest friends from life after college are die hard Republicans and are sad but respectful today. So, what does that say about me?
I have had the privilege of voting in four elections so far. I can tell you that there is yet to be a time where I have voted exclusively for one party. I am talking President, Senate and City Council and School Board elections, included. I split tickets all the time! I truly vote for the person I think is best at the time. Not just the party. In the four elections, I have voted for an equal amount of Democrats and Republicans to hold the highest office in the nation. Some people are probably disgusted by this fact, thinking that I should have more solid beliefs and know where I stand. The fact is I do know where I stand. I am conservative on some issues and liberal enough to be content with the Democratic perspective on others. This election was extremely important so I made sure to do my research and also consulted friends from both sides to get their point of views as well. Then I made what I felt to be an informed decision. I am not going to reveal who I voted for because I know it is not advisable to discuss politics in public (even though I live in the DC area and it is many people's favorite topic) and I just prefer to keep that to myself.

Now, to "Thankful Thursday":

I am thankful (for):

- the diverse perspectives of my parents that have enriched my life and helped me to grow into my own person

- being able to vote freely

- such good friends that our political affiliation does not divide us

- the patriotic feeling that exists in this country. I teared up at both Romney and Obama's speeches on Election Night. Both men truly want to do what they feel is best for America. Aside from Election Night, people have been coming together to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy and to me, that is just as patriotic as supporting your candidate of choice

- John T. Chapman: John had a very modest beginning and was just elected to Alexandria City Council. John and I went to school together and I know he is a man of great character with a deep commitment to his hometown. So happy for him! Winner, winner,  chicken dinner!!

- a fight not breaking out in the voting line between me and my tenant. We did not get along after he destroyed my condo. It so happens that I was directly behind him in the voting line. He looked at me.  I looked at him. Neither one of us said a word. That was a blessing.

- "the election is behind us, the Great Commission is before us, the Holy Spirit is still in us and Jesus is coming for us. That's hope." -Ken Whitten

- Romans 13:1 (NIV) "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." 

Those who disagree with the election results should remember that God has a plan and He will continue to bless America.  Those who are excited about the next four years, don't gloat! It's really tacky. I earnestly believe both candidates want to work in the interest of America (even though, their ideas are in opposition to one another) You also won't catch me launching personal attacks on the President or any candidates. My philosophy is unless I feel that I can do a better job in his position, I will refrain from that behavior. And, quite frankly, I think respect speaks the loudest and is the best response in all situations.

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