Two days before the now infamous election, Finn was in full sobbing meltdown. Perhaps a foreshadowing of half the country, if not the world. He was inconsolable because Erin had just explained that he would not actually be able to vote himself.
“But I HAAAVE to!” he sobbed.
If only everyone felt so strongly about voting.
There has been scarcely a road we could drive down without seeing campaign signs for the last two years and Finn has been well aware that this was an historic election.
After his meltdown, Erin created a special ballot for him in red, white, and blue with both candidates’ names and a tag line at the bottom: “Thank you for your patriotism.” Finn took his ballot over to a chair to fill it out in semi-privacy.
Then, on election day, he brought it along in the car and joined us at the polls.
The following day Erin and I were the ones in a stupor while he was, thankfully, going about the business of childhood. I was glad that he didn’t grasp the gravity of it all.
What an awesome privilege, this thing of voting. But how hard it is when the system doesn’t work the way you think it should.
I’ve tried hard to process the results and find a way to move forward. I don’t think it’s helpful to lump everyone together, making broad criticisms. There is clearly a large segment of the population who simply do not believe the negative characterizations of the president-elect any more than others believe the negative characterizations of Clinton.
The frightening part is knowing that there is a segment of the population that does believe the negative things and supports them wholeheartedly. During the conventions we heard a fearful view of America and a hopeful one. We’re still hearing both now, but from different sides.
If there are positive things to be gleaned from this election, hopefully one is that we’ve learned that a complacent electorate is good for no one. Maybe another will be that the presidency is not a monarchy or dictatorship and we have the power to affect change on a daily basis.
But between the protests, petitions and phone calls, we have to find ways to come together. And while we’re working for those who are being marginalized we must seek to understand those on the other side who have felt left behind for some time.
The roadside campaign signs have been removed now for the most part. On the ride home last night I noticed a lone sign in the previously crowded campaign no-man’s-land. It read “Love Your Neighbor.”
I wouldn’t mind seeing those everywhere for the next four years.
David Dewitt is an artist, blogger, and painter who lives with his family in the Rondout Valley. For more, visit daviddewitt.com.