Vote Responsibly and Work Together Afterward

To the Editor,

“Lean to the left, lean to the right, stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight!”

That was what we used to cheer during high school football games. If our team won, we won, vicariously. The coaches would strategize, the players would train, and when it came time for the big game; the guards, the safety, the quarterback, would all run, pass, push, and shove their way towards the goal line. The opposing team pushed and shoved back, the referee called fouls and handed out penalties, while some guys ran up and down the sidelines measuring each team’s progress, yard by yard, play by play.

During this 2012 election campaign, is it any wonder that I find myself hearing that cheer ringing over and over in my head? Some of us lean towards the left, some to the far right, and yes, some do stand up, far too many of us sit down, and some just…fight, fight, fight!

I hope that in the midst of the campaign rhetoric, we will all remember that as Americans, we are not on opposing teams, but we are all citizens of a nation, The United States. Not cheering for one team to win and one to lose, but for so much more!

The government should uphold the Constitution, maintain our roadways, protect our natural resources, and ensure ethical business practices and monetary standards while providing National Security from the threat of violence and war.

Beyond that, we should never expect the government to promise financial security, insulate us from the elements, or control human behavior in order to prevent personal rejection or ridicule. The government should never, ever, protect any one group of people more than any other, prohibit freedom of religion, mandate taxes in order to funnel money to specific people groups, or re-write or deny its history as a nation replete with Judeo-Christian principles and terminology within its governing standards and judicial guidelines.

We all win when we are all treated as valuable human beings; no matter our age, our gender, our religious creed, our ethnic heritage, or our ability to contribute to society in tangible and measurable ways. When any people group is favored or protected over any other; polarization follows.

That’s also when local and religious communities fail to provide for the needy, the infirm, and the helpless, thinking that someone else (Uncle Sam) will do it. When people have to fight for their fair share, their rights, their piece of the pie, that’s when we establish our own ‘teams’ and root for ourselves to win and others … to lose.

Vote responsibly and be aware of clever advertising, marketing and media manipulation. Remember that no matter who is elected as the President this November, we will all still have to work and live together in a country where about half of us voted for that person and about half of us didn’t.

Freedom and fairness should be for everyone, not just for those that that particular President favors in order to get himself elected.

Upstate New York

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