Tonight’s the night. And this will only be the start of another set of anxieties as the vote gets counted. But I am relieved about one thing: my 35 year-old Denver-based daughter finally voted. After years of cajoling her, my threats of cutting her out of the will (like that made a huge impact…) and lots of my whining, she finally did it. I won’t say for whom, but you can guess.
Maybe it finally hit her that this election could directly affect her as a millennial. I’m an old fart who will die off soon and am not likely to get anyone pregnant or be drowned by rising sea levels. Thankfully, I live on the 4th floor. Yes, I am worried about health care, social security and financial relief. But all these things matter more to her since she has a much longer time to worry about such things.
But, whatever candidate you favored, this election energized the population to exercise their right to vote. One of the biggest problems with the 2016 election was that so few who could vote did vote. Especially the young. But this time, it seems that it has resonated with millennials, gen-z-ers and maybe a few digital kids coming of age now. This is their vote as much as it is a vote for those who had previously felt disenfranchised, the many hyphenated communities who hadn’t felt that this act mattered to them.
Whatever our system is — a Republic or a Democracy — the biggest sin conducted throughout the last four years was to undermine this country’s core belief in itself. Maybe we needed to have things shaken up, to not presume that what was has to be, but that it has to come from an essential, core idea — that this country exists for everyone who is here.
That’s why the founding fathers (sadly there were no women on the founding team) insisted on a census that tried to count everyone here regardless of their status as a citizen. If our laws mean anything, there have to be some common things that’s accepted by us all.
This election is about everyone: suburban women, burly truck drivers, pregnant trans men, beer-guzzling students, multi-tattooed bikers, and meditation leaders among others. This country is all about inclusion, or should be, but far too many people feel they are part of a group in order to exclude. Tribalism is a good idea if you are trying to get in touch with your roots but not if you’re trying to feel superior to others. The great virtue of this country is that it contains multitudes, a reason to extol our differences not to combat them.
The way to make America great again, is not by division but by multiplication… And by embracing our additions rather than finding ways to subtract people, we can move forward into the 21st century without so much contention or strife.