By Leann Zotis
Whether it’s election season or the period right after when the winners are gloating and the losers are licking their wounds, everybody has an opinion about the right and wrong ways to govern the community, the town, the state or the country. Ideally, everyone is entitled to their opinion and the freedom to voice that opinion without retaliation from opposing factions. In reality, not everyone can calmly state their case without allowing excessive emotions to control their behavior.
The next time the talk turns political, consider some of the finer points of political discourse.
. Whether your candidate won or lost, remember, it takes more than one politician to run things. The opposing candidate cannot change the whole operation of society unilaterally. Legislative committees, Congress, Senators or town councils must all work together to write legislation and implement change. Elections take place in a democracy, not in a monarchy. One person, regardless of the office held, is not going to save or condemn society as we currently know it.
. The winning candidate must have had at least a few good ideas or else they would not have received a majority vote. Try to embrace the goals and programs of the new regime that align with your personal goals. Continue to talk about and work towards the changes you would like to see in the future. You still have the power to direct change for the better.
. Listen more than you speak when talking to other people about the voting choices. There is a lot of misinformation tossed about during election campaigns and a lot misunderstanding afterward. Win or lose, elections provide the best opportunity for the public to make their voices heard. The change that didn’t happen during this election could be the spark that influences change down the road.
. Always be grateful that you don’t have to agree with anyone in order to live peacefully in a democracy. Civil disobedience and freedom of speech are founding principles of democracy. Just as you would not want that taken away from you, you must tolerate the opposition.
. The more strongly you feel about the election of an undesirable candidate, the more you should feel motivated to become more actively involved in future political action. Don’t become one of those who complains bitterly yet refuse to do anything positive to create change.
We are no longer confined to our own small piece of the world with our limited provincial ideas. The more society is exposed to diverse viewpoints and different ways to bring about change in the future, the more likely it is for polarization to occur. Opening ourselves up to new and different ways of thinking is not so much a choice as it is a necessity. The world will change regardless of who holds public office and it is not a safe bet to parcel out blame to elected officials just because every change does not align with personal objectives. While we may be at odds with our elected officials or our fellow voting public, we must remain open to the dialog that will foster progress in the future.