The Election

By Jim Selman | Bio

One more day and we’ll know for sure who will be our President. If we accept the polls, it looks like a slam-dunk for Obama. (I already voted for him.) But even should there be a miracle for McCain, the nation faces a moment of truth unlike any time that I can recall’—at least not since the end of the Civil War. I am talking about how we get beyond the LEFT versus RIGHT schism that has divided and fragmented our nation and made a mockery of what we used to say in the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ when we declared ourselves to be “One Nation Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All”.

I am betting that Obama is sincere in his commitment to this and that he will have the leadership skills to inspire and unite a divided nation. This is a lot more than just ‘working across the aisle’—although that might be a good start. Rather, it means confronting the institutionalized identities that political entrepreneurs have used to garner power. We must stop labeling each other as ‘black Americans’, ‘Hispanic Americans’ ‘Gay Americans’ and on and on. We need to BE Americans and then learn to live with our diversity as a source of strength, rather than fight to homogenize each other into some sort of ‘same think’ that will ultimately destroy who we are.

The best part of this election is that the divide has electrified the electorate. We’re coming alive in the context of this race and now must maintain the energy and responsibility that is appearing and align behind whoever the President may be. I promise you, if McCain should win, I will be the first to set aside my differences and do what I can to have him be successful. Even if Sarah Palin (God forbid) should someday occupy the Office of the President, I recognize that it is my responsibility to have her succeed and use our political process to influence policy and/or work for a candidate of my choosing.

It is easy to be a spectator or an armchair pundit. But it requires a true citizen to stand up in the face of an administration they disagree with and honor the institutions and offices that make this democracy work. If my sixty-six years have taught me anything, it is that being right in any situation (such as a marriage) is not nearly as important as having the relationship work. If there is any wisdom to pass on to future generations, it is this:

Without the ‘integrity of the whole’, there can be no progress and we can never solve our common problems or achieve a common future.

Being ‘right’—whether one is a liberal or conservative—is not as important as being personally responsible for being “one nation (whether under God or not) committed to liberty and justice for all”…especially for all of those with whom we disagree.


© 2008 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.