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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Reflections on the election

Last night I had a girls' night with two of my favorite friends and political wonks. We share ideas, news articles, good books, crafts, recipes and experiences- quintessential ingredients for lifelong friendship.

Kristen shared her experience working at the phone bank for Minnesotans United For All Families. She called one young man who told her he didn't know how to vote because his religious beliefs suggested he should not support gay marriage. Kristen then asked him what he valued most as a Christian; she offered that she strongly values the importance of loving your neighbor as you love yourself. The young man was moved  by this; he thanked her and told her he would be voting no on the marriage amendment.

Bryana has worked extremely hard to inform others of the importance of voting no on the marriage amendment. She posts facts and stories on facebook and even had a "Vote No" sign at her wedding this August.

I shared my experiences writing the blog and the emails and fb notices I receive with questions, comments and criticism.

As we watched Saturday Night Live we wryly laughed along with a sense of disappointment in the election in general.

I think the three of us are very representative of many Americans at this time. We are informed, independent individuals that value the importance of pragmatism and compromise. We don't appreciate the extreme partisan politics in Washington.

We simply want intelligent representation in Washington, individuals willing to work with one another to rebuild America. We don't have any time for politicians waging wars on issues we've made peace with; we accept physics, math and biology. We know we need to work to become carbon neutral and a green economy that produces less plastic and waste. We know that climate change is a very real and very dangerous aspect of our future that we need to address now, so we can acclimate ourselves to the changes it will bring. We know that we must spend less on entitlements and the military in order to reduce the enormous deficit. We know that we need a practical approach to tax reform, reform that will ease us through the fiscal cliff and allow the deficit to become small enough that interest rates can become larger than 2.5%.

We also respect the rights of women, Hispanics, homosexuals and those struggling financially. Politicians forget that nearly every American felt the recession in some way. Maybe we had a friend or relative that lost their job at age 50 and is now struggling to start a new business. Perhaps we have a niece, nephew or daughter that graduated from college and has been working a minimum wage job for two years. Or perhaps we know a family that lost their health insurance when they lost their job, and now the family cannot afford adequate medical attention. We don't appreciate the hate mongering and disdain so callously displayed in debates and political ads.

The mood of America is sober; we're tired and frustrated with politics as usual

We long for politicians that abandon the extreme left and the extreme right, and move beyond the battles of the past. We need to stop talking about birth control and start talking about tax reform. We need to stop pretending that climate change is a political issue and accept it as a scientific reality agreed upon by 99% of scientists.

My hope for Tuesday is that the newly elected and re-elected officials enter Washington with a sense of earnest humility so that four years from now we aren't listening to the same tired arguments and political cliches, but proud of what has been done and eager to build upon the achievements of the past.

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