Hopefully everyone who is reading this post will be heading to the polls tomorrow to stand up and let your voice be counted. During this unprecedented election cycle, nerves have been frayed, family relationships and friendships have been strained, “Election Anxiety Disorder” has been diagnosed, and cynicism has taken up residence in many hearts. Our nation’s collective dirty laundry has been aired, and every other-ing “-ism” known to humankind has reared its frightening, ugly head.
No matter what the final results of this contentious contest are, we have a long and difficult road ahead of us – a path that will require honest and critical self-reflection, humility, and willingness to forgive in order that we can move forward and seek the common good.
I admit that I became addicted to the incessant barrage of breaking news stories, an ambulance chaser horrified by, yet fixated on, the latest political carnage. The media hype which started well over a year ago has obscured any semblance of the truth and thrown gasoline on every flickering ember of potential conflict. How is a reasonably intelligent and motivated citizen able to separate fact from hyperbole to make a conscientious choice for the 45th President of this country? The stereotype of angry, white, non-college educated “redneck” men being the majority voting block for Donald Trump is not the whole picture – I personally am surrounded by respectable neighbors who have Trump –Pence signs displayed proudly on their lawns. Attempts to convince people through logical argument that their choice is, at the very least, misinformed, and at the very worst, a scourge against democracy, have failed abysmally. Rarely do polarizing conversations do anything to convince another person to change their mind, or even to see an issue from a different perspective.
So in this moment I invite every adult of voting age to suspend logic and consult with the wise voice of your Inner Kindergartner before filling out your ballot tomorrow. Call upon your child spirit, which is intact still, but hidden beneath layers of disappointments, prejudices, down-sizings, bruises and boo boos, perhaps barricaded under a fortress of fear and anxiety about what the future holds. When you enter the voting booth, remember these classic words of Robert Fulghum, about what you learned in kindergarten :
Share everything…Play fair…Don’t hit people…Clean up your own mess…Don’t take things that aren’t yours…Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody…Learn some and think some…When you go out into the world, hold hands and stick together….
Let these simple rules be your guide.
What will we tell our children and grandchildren if we spurn what we’ve taught them from the age of reason?
Most of what we really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, we learned in kindergarten…
For the full text of Robert Fulghum’s poem, see: