Saturday, November 17, 2012

Getting Along, Post-Election

It's funny to read about individuals from several states wanting to secede from the United States rather than deal with four more years of an Obama presidency.  Hey, if I can deal with eight years of George W. Bush without moving to Canada, I think conservatives can do the same for my guy.

I also saw this charming story on the news about a woman who hit her husband with a car for not voting in the election.

Oh, and today I read a lovely article in the Salt Lake Tribune that says Utah holds fourth place for the most racist tweets following the election.  Utah is tied with North Dakota.  Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama took third, second, and first place, respectively.  Boy, isn't that something to be proud of?

Look, I get that people are upset about the election, but like former first lady, Barbara Bush, says in this article, "People spoke. Move on, get on with it."  I did it when George W. was re-elected; those who are unhappy with the current results can do so, too.

I had a good friend who's on the conservative side who said this on his Facebook page:  

"I wanted Romney to win too, felt it was best for the economy, but he didn't. It'll be ok. Maybe it was the way the campaign was run, or the way Obama ran his, or maybe its just that most Americans don't think like I do. That's OK too. But we need to get past the loss and move forward. Yes, go ahead and make adjustments to weather the storm we feel is coming, pass on the costs to consumers, alter employee hours, etc., and take care of your families. That's perfectly OK in my book. There is a 'settling in' that needs to take place when there is a shift. And Obama supporters, don't hold it against us when we make the changes since we all have our own plans for success. What I would encourage, if I may, is that each side at least try to understand that there just might be some merit coming from the opinions of the people on the other side, conservatives and liberals alike, and that we do our best to accept some compromise. There is enough aggression out there in the world that we don't need it between neighbors. Peace to everyone, God Bless, and may we all weather whatever storm comes, well. If you need some nails for the shutters, I will gladly give you some of mine - and I don't care who you voted for."

I agree with him.  Some of my liberal friends have come across as gloating or poor winners, and I don't think that's cool.  Likewise, I have conservative friends who can't seem to let the bad feelings go.  I don't think that's good, either.

My hope is that liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, can work together to solve our nation's challenges because we obviously have a bunch, and if neither side is willing to make compromises, we're not going to get anything done, and it is the American people who will suffer.  I just hope that neither party is so stubborn they will be willing to take United States citizens hostage as a result.

I sincerely wish we could see each things from each other's points-of-view.  I wish the rich could see things as the poor see them, and vice-versa.  I wish Palestine and Israel could see things from the other's point-of-view.  I wish gays and straights, blacks and whites, men and women, religious and non-religious, etc. could truly see things the way those they misunderstand see them.  It might not make them agree with each other, but at could at least shed new light, better clarity, and give new perspectives on misunderstandings.

I was listening to Jonah's brother talk about his religious points-of-view the other day, and it struck me that we're often so sure of what we believe that there is little room for another perspective or belief.  As someone who grew up Mormon, I've often felt (and still feel) the same way about some of my own religious beliefs.  Being outside of the church has given me a greater perspective and greater appreciation for things in which I was often so entrenched that I couldn't see anything but a certain myopic point-of-view. 

Seeing things from another's point-of-view was made a little clearer the other day through the following example:

In dealing with my mom's dementia, my brother and I have started taking over some of her financial and legal dealings.  One of these financial issues has necessitated getting my mom's attorney involved.  In my view, the matter seemed relatively simple to deal with, and I figured it could be taken care of fairly quickly.

I sent my mom's attorney an email detailing the information he requested, but he did not respond.  We had had a glitch previously when I had sent him an email he never received, so I was concerned that perhaps he had not received this one, either.  So I sent him a follow-up email which included the same information and another request simply asking if he had received the initial email.

He sent me a courteous, but obviously annoyed, email saying that this issue was actually a very complicated one to deal with; that he received about 25 emails a day, many of them of a higher priority than mine, and that he couldn't possibly answer each one as timely as perhaps the writer would like; that this was a very busy season for him because of certain tax issues he had to deal with with higher priority clients; that even though this issue may feel urgent to me, it isn't as urgent as some of the other issues he's dealing with; that if I needed confirmation on an email, it would be better to call him; and that if I needed this issue handled more urgently, I would need to find another attorney.

Well, I didn't realize any of that until I saw things from his point-of-view.  I responded simply by apologizing and saying that the matter really wasn't so urgent that it couldn't wait a few weeks; that I had thought calling him would be more time consuming for him than email him; and that all I had really wanted was confirmation that he actually received the information.

He got back to me; said that he had probably overreacted due to a particularly high number of emails that morning; apologized; and said he would get to it as soon as he could.

I responded back by telling him that I understood his point-of-view now; that he's always treated my mom (and my dad before he passed away) very fairly, kindly, and equitably; and that he could take as much time as he felt he needed.

It was weird.  I was crying after I wrote the final email.  I'm not sure why.  I think it's because I genuinely like this attorney.  He is a kind man and good at his job.  I felt bad that we had this misunderstanding due to our inability to see all the facts from the other person's perspective.  But because I now understand things from his point-of-view and because he was able to see things from mine, I felt there were no hard feelings from either of us and that we were able to get on with the business at hand.  And my heart ached for all of us to be able to do that with each other in spite of our perceived differences.

I have so longed to live in a world of peace.  I was saying to Jonah just last night, "Wouldn't it be great to live in a world where people got along and were fair with each other and were kind and loving?  I long for that."

I hope the afterlife is as peaceful as the scriptures seem to indicate because I don't see that world of peace happening here any time soon.  But we can start with ourselves.  I'm not always successful, but I try so hard to see things from other people's points-of-view.  I have my flaws, too, and I can be selfish, but I do try to love and help others as best I can.

Anyway, I hope we can all work harder to get along and be kind to one another.

In closing, here are a couple of articles and a blog post I have read lately about putting the election in perspective.  I make no judgment about any of them other than to say I found them interesting and they make some good points.  


Dean Scott said...

I am really close to not attending my high school reunion next summer due to some very insulting election posts by some of my classmates. It really hurts. I decided to keep my mouth shut and post pretty photos on Facebook.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Oof, some people on my Facebook feed were out of control. I wish people could be more kind and civil to one another.