Did you vote? Of course, you did; so many of us did. In fact, this election had record-breaking numbers of everyday Americans placing their choice by way of early voting, mail-in, and election day ballots. And yet, here we are the day after the election and we are all still wondering who the next POTUS will be. After months of political ad-stuffed mailboxes, relentless trash-talking commercial ads, and all-consuming real and fake social media, we are still wondering who will be the next president. The uncertainty hangs over us. It feels like we have been hit with some cruel joke on December 25th when we awaken to find out that Christmas has been rescheduled; we are all stuck waiting to see when it will be celebrated, and even worse, not knowing who will get any presents!
The Vote and Beyond
With this election, it seems America is trying its best to be socially conscious. People are reading, researching, discussing, polling, investigating, and seeking to make the best choices. Citizens are finding a voice, stepping up to push worthy causes, kneeling to protest injustice, and generally seeking to push forward for the best of all Americans. Traditionally, the pinnacle of the American voice is punching the ballot boxes at the polls. You did that yesterday! Pat yourself on the back. Be proud of yourself … and now, MOVE ALONG!
Casting the Vote is Just the Beginning
Yes, move along. Doing the civic duty of casting your choice for President, Governor, Register of Deeds, Superior Judge, or even Dog Catcher or Director of Mosquito-Control Board (yes, a real elected position) is just one step — a simple act really — of being a good citizen. Voting once every two or four years should not be the end of it. Post-election too many people line up behind their candidate, displaying their vote with their chest puffed out, proud that they are a Super-Citizen because they supported The Right Guy (win or lose). Despite 2020’s near split vote, everyone feels they got it right, and now they can go back to their lives for the next four years while either complaining or extolling the worth of the reigning winner.
Election Day Shouldn’t Be an End. It is Just the Beginning.
Voting is just one act. The acts that are needed for America to continue as the leader in democracy demand so much more. In a time of moral strife, a global pandemic, racial discord, natural disasters, and financial crisis, once your vote is cast, it is time to start looking to do more. The President is just a man (or one day a woman) serving in a position to represent what we all should strive to be – better people, better Americans, better global citizens. Once these votes are counted and the winner declared, we should all start working towards betterment. With an election that is a near tie, it means no matter who you voted for, nearly as many others voted for the other guy; so let’s find the common ground to bring us all back to one purpose to begin the healing.
What You Can Do
Move away from the elections by moving forward and making a difference. Consider some of these ways:
- Run for office in the future for a cause and/or position you are passionate about.
- Join local non-profit organizations working for a change.
- See a need in the community but nothing is being done? Create a volunteer or non-profit organization to address the problem.
- Seek to understand the other side. Elections have become about mudslinging and blame. Take the time to understand others’ point-of-view. It may not change your choice, but it will give an understanding of why others picked differently. That brings growth.
- Stay up-to-date with news, from local to international, Know when, why, and how things change.
- Consider the military or civil service for a career. If you have passed the age for that, join groups that support the military and veteran organizations.
- Donate to worthy causes. Donation doesn’t mean just money. Your time, resources, knowledge, service, even something as easy as donating blood can help your fellow Americans.
- Recycle and work to help conserve the environment.
- Learn CPR and keep your knowledge current.
- Support your local schools through volunteering and booster organizations.
- Help at the local food bank, soup kitchen, or homeless shelters.
- Obey the law. From driving the speed limit to filing taxes on time, the law has a purpose and is for everyone.
- Vote in ALL elections, not just the presidential ones. Chances are your local election results have far more influence on your daily life than the Presidental election every four years does.
- Be kind and show appreciation to those who serve others (teachers, EMS workers, law enforcement, nurses, military, etc).
And most importantly, be good to others! Make it your personal goal to always bring something positive, no matter who or what you encounter in a day. Every four years we go to the polls and make a choice for national leadership. This year half the people that voted disagreed with your choice as they supported “the other guy.” Either way, today, tomorrow, and in the next four years to come, we all still will wake up as fellow Americans.
It’s Our Job Now
The election is over. It is time to work together to create something more than this 2020 election year dumped on us. Step up. Be better. It might not be on the ballot, but every election should remind us of our own personality civic responsibilities! President Theodore Roosevelt said, “The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight.”
Move along; by each of us pulling our own weight, maybe even a little bit more, hopefully, the political strife and difficulty of the past several months can heal us, and we can pull away from the divisions and move towards what unites us.
What do you think? Do you have an idea to help Americans come together as we move to heal this divide? Comment below, we would love to hear it!