And starring *???* As The Mad Hatter!

Man, people are angry! Presidential elections always bring out passion in people, but this is getting ridiculous. Otherwise reasonable people hurling insults at their friends because they have voiced a dissenting opinion. And the people who aren’t generally reasonable, well, they have totally gone ’round the pipe. Watching a group of people have a beer on a pub patio yesterday, i was surprised to find myself thinking if this is what gatherings were like at the onset of the Civil War.

The debates? I admit, i only watched one in its entirety. The rest i picked up from clips. They make me feel like a lunch room monitor at middle school. The insults, the finger pointing and name calling, the personal digs… Are they presidential candidates or contenders for the Beer Pong Cup? You know it’s a messed up election year when the Democrats seem more austere and focused than the Republicans. And they have certainly been more respectful of each other. Not that they are perfect. Far from it. Rhetoric is rhetoric, even if it comes dressed for dinner.

The third party candidates could really ascend the staircase this year if they televised a debate and acted like educated adults.

It is not my place to advocate for any particular candidate. I’m a firm believer that in any election, one should do their research and vote for who represents them best, regardless of whether i agree. I respect and support your right to vote your conscience. Your view doesn’t have to be the same as mine. After all, i’m not Mother Theresa or the Dalai Lama. Hell, i’m not even Donny Osmond. I’m probably more of the Danny Bonaduce type. And lord knows, we don’t want him deciding the election. We are a collective and diverse people. Our votes should reflect that. And, as that same collective, we will live with the results.

All these people who say they will move to Canada if so-and-so gets elected? You know they won’t. For all our flaws, we are an awesome nation. Jacked-up, controversial, contradictory, and flat out illogical sometimes… But still awesome in our own dysfunction. We are like a massive adaptation of the Mad Hatter’s tea party. And the position of the Mad Hatter himself is up for re-election every four years. The actors change, but the party goes on. Ain’t it grand?

Ok, not perfect. As a nation, we have a lot of work to do and problems to solve. But i’d still rather do it here than anywhere else. We have discrimination and poverty and addiction and disparity and climate change and a million other bad things, just like every place else. But we also have opportunity and variety and expanse and beauty and freedom. And, singularly, we have Broadway and New Orleans Jazz and Eleanor Roosevelt and Glacier National Park  and Toll House cookies and oh-so-many other things. Not perfect. But definitely grand.

In any case, as the momentum to the election builds, i beg of you to be kind to each other. Don’t throw things at your neighbor because he likes Trump. Don’t belittle your coworker because she likes Bernie. Dig deep into your memory and think of a time when you thought you had the right answer, went with it, and discovered you were wrong. You have one. I know you do. And you might have one again, this election. Or they might. And won’t it suck if you are no longer friends and can’t have a beer and say, “I told you so.”

In the end, it’s just politics. Regardless of who gets elected, our day to day will change very little. We will get up, suck down some coffee, go to work, come home, walk the dog, make supper, play with the weedlings, take out the trash, watch some tv, get lucky (if we’re lucky), then go to bed…. And wake up the next day to do it all again. On the weekends, hopefully, we’ll be grilling some burgers in the back yard with those same people who didn’t like our presidential candidate. So be nice. And allow for the possibility that other opinions aren’t stupid. In return, maybe they won’t laugh in your face when you lose.

I promise, i won’t.

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