Hey everyone, how are you all doing? For those of you who celebrate, Happy Hanukkah! I hope this sacred time brings everyone a little light and maybe a miracle or two! There is so much going on in the world today that can bring us down or drain our energy. First and foremost, we are going through the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis – the COVID 19 epidemic. At this point, over 300,000 people have died. Many days we lost more people to this virus than we lost in 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. The emotional toll this is taking on everyone can not be understated. The USA is especially hard hit, for many reasons. The political agenda of some people have caused them to believe this is a hoax. They don’t listen to science, for many reasons. They don’t believe in wearing masks or social distancing. This denial of something that has been proven time and time again, this blatant disregard for human life has been overwhelming. We all pray for everyone to stay safe and to everyone affected by COVID, to get well. My heart breaks for all those who are grieving and may you find a sense of peace somehow.
Speaking of politics… (I know, you wish I wouldn’t! :-)) Yet, as a concerned citizen, I have to comment on just a few things. I will do so briefly and with hopefully some tact toward people of all political parties. I believe strongly in finding what UNITES us rather than divides us. To that end, I hope we can all agree that we are AMERICANS, first and foremost, before party affiliations. Although we may love one presidential candidate over another, and although we may be sad and worried if our candidate lost, the will of the American people has been heard. Mr. Joe Biden will be President on Jan. 20, 2021. Mr. Trump and his legal team had ample opportunity to explore all of their legal rights and all of these were dismissed out of court – many times even by Trump-appointed judges. Several Republican governors, attorney generals and other Republican-elected officials did their jobs, despite tremendous pressure and they certified the election results. I don’t say this to rub salt in the wounds. I remember how sickening it felt when my candidate lost in 2016. But we all, including Hillary, accepted the results as quickly as we could. Was it that night? No. But it was the next morning. Or maybe after a week of crying ourselves to sleep. But we did accept it sooner than SIX WEEKS after the election. We did. President Obama did invite him to the White House, look it up if you don’t believe me. It’s called “the Peaceful Transfer of Power” and it means a lot. I don’t bring this up to annoy people. I mention it only to invite people to find a common ground to stand on. Can we all agree that democracy works? The Will of the People has been heard. We might not like what “The People” say but these are ALL OUR PEOPLE. Those who voted for a different person are NOT your enemy. They are your neighbors, friends, former classmates, coworkers and fellow church members.
It seems like long ago when everyone got their information from one or two main sources. For better or worse, all Americans agreed upon certain basic tenets of reality. How people felt about that reality was different for each person. But for example, we knew – as a unified people – who the President was. Did we argue if he was doing a good job? Yes, all the time. But there was a unified platform upon which we made our arguments. Now, our news media, from which we base our political beliefs, has become so fractured, divided and biased that most Americans are living in completely different realities. Parallel universes, if you will. This has become so bad that most of us – on BOTH sides – will need awhile to come to terms with what is happening in our country. We may need to fact-check a few things, maybe many things, for quite some time. We can’t wait for our favorite news channel to change and be truly “fair and balanced.” Media outlets are all based on greed. They will not change as long as they have consumers. They only want more eyeballs – glued to their TV. One way of encouraging them to be more fair and fact-checking is to email or tweet at them to do so. If enough of us do this, maybe someday they will hear it. Until then, there is not much hope of changing the news outlets. I certainly don’t think I am powerful enough to even make a dent in that system.
However, it is within the power of each person to seek out multiple sources of news to create the basis of their political leanings and actions. As Americans we owe that to ourselves and to each other. OK, enough said. Here is the “Spiritual Smile” part of my blog, which I will try to find in every blog I write. Today we have an opportunity to agree on a few things. Do we agree that everyone who wanted to vote, DID vote? Do we agree that Mr. Biden will be our next President? Do we agree that we are ALL Americans? No matter who you voted for, and no matter how hurt or angry you may feel right now, I would like everyone to dig deep for a moment. Think about your friends, neighbors, former classmates, coworkers and fellow church members who think differently than you do. Somewhere in there, no matter how different you may feel from them right now, there is a fond memory, or something nice they did, or a cute meme they sent out, or a shared love of spiked egg nog, whatever it is… find that place of connection. Celebrate it just for a moment, until it makes you smile. Feel your heart smile, just for them. Then, for those who are a bit different from you – send them just a little spiritual smile.