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Food for Thought column - Nov. 17, 2016
Thankfully, those annoying campaign commercials are done. However, it’s too bad that the name calling, the bias of the major media reports, and disrespectful behaviors continue on. In fact, those actions seem to be accelerating like a fully loaded truck with no brakes heading down a steep hill. Of course, that may be too much of a fly-over-state, blue-collar analogy for a big-city newsperson to understand! (There is more about that below.)
I was happy to see people lined up at the polling places to vote, carrying out their civic duty, regardless of how they voted. But I am saddened and disturbed by the events and actions that have taken place since Election Day.
Is the blocking of major highways, destruction of property, walk-outs, name-calling, and flag burning really the most effective way to make a point and the best way to handle any situation? Is ridiculing and harassing someone in an elevator or on a bus for the way you assume that they have voted the way to gain respect?
When these marches block major highways, the protestors threaten the lives of others by causing delay to emergency personnel trying to reach medical facilities, fires, and accidents. Is blocking the highway and causing someone to miss their flight, being late to pick up their child from daycare, or preventing them from getting to work and losing their job because they were stuck in backed up traffic really the best way to gain support for your opinion?
Last Friday was Veteran’s Day, the day observed to honor those who have served and fought for our country. It is a day recognizing the end of World War I; a day to observe peace. Some may regard the burning of the U.S. flag as a right of self-expression. Every time I see someone burning a flag, I see it as a crime, a shameful act. It not only disrespects our country as a whole, but disrespects every member of the armed services past and present, who sacrificed and worked to earn and guarantee that freedom for you.
I was greatly upset with the national media’s reference to the “uneducated rural voters” when the results and projections were coming in. Leave it to major media to use a broad brush stroke to create and perpetuate yet another cultural divide by resorting to name-calling and ridicule. Rural Americans gain college degrees just like their urban counterparts, and most have well-earned diplomas from the “School of Hard Knocks” and the “Busted Knuckles University,” too. Rural Americans also know that many, many issues, both political and moral, affect their daily lives and livelihoods, and the future of their families, their farms, their businesses or jobs. They do not take these issues lightly.
The citizens of rural communities and rural districts are notorious for practicing their civic duty and voting in any election. Keep in mind that the vast majority of this country’s population resides in the urban population centers along the coasts, not in the rural, fly-over states in between. Guess the media figures that a Midwestern farmer or trucker is responsible for an East or West Coast citizen not showing up to cast their ballot.
One must be 18 years old to vote -- an adult. So let's all act like adults and remember some golden rules. If you want respect, be respectful. If you want your opinions heard, listen to and be respectful of the opinions of others, remembering that there is always more than one perspective on any issue. Whether it is a game, a sporting event, a job, or an election for a class office or the leader of our country, life brings us victories and losses everyday. Be gracious in victory AND in defeat -- that is where peace and unity begins and what our country needs now.