After the Vote

I feel very sad today. For the record numbers that voted in this election, I am glad and proud. Still, I am sad. I understand that many, many people are tired of inequities and want change.

Election results this morning prompted me to look at Canadian laws regarding immigration. Escape was, indeed, about my first thought.

I suppose, however, that the nominee deserves a chance. For as much difficulty I have finding any reason to respect the man, I concede that he should be given a chance. I think America has chosen unwisely. Sadly, our country may pay for this error in ways we cannot even now conceive. Still, America was built by people – my ancestors – who decided to take a chance.

I happen to believe that one of the many things we need in this country are major prison reforms. I also believe in second, and sometimes even third chances. If what I believe is to mean anything, I have to live up to my own standards. Just as I cannot give up on rooting for prisoners who are desperately trying to succeed, I cannot give up on America because I don’t like one man. It may require a significant amount of self-control, but I will give him some time. Perhaps – somehow – some good will ultimately come from this.

Since the Vietnam War, our country has been dissatisfied with presidents. I cite the Vietnam era because I was a child growing up in the 60’s then. I really can’t address what it was like for presidential terms prior to that time. I have memories of war protesters, and flower children campaigning for peace and love. I remember prejudice and hatred and riots. I had thought that we, the people, had finally gotten past all that hatred and anger, but it seems this election has brought it to the forefront of our country once again.

There is one powerful thing we still have as a country, though. It is our belief in freedom – most especially, freedom of speech. No matter how strongly we may disagree with each other, we retain the right to continue to disagree and to speak about it.

Tonight (having had the entire day to process the results of this election) it is my hope and prayer that, as our country treads new ground, we renew an appreciation for freedom and equality. I pray that all of us in this country really begin now to unite and work toward the real democracy for which we stand. But we will truly have to work at it. We must realize our own value, and that of our neighbor – differences and all. We need to respect one another. If we value honesty and decency, we need to stand up for those things. Our goal should be a common ground that will be a testimony to freedom and decency, as well as an example and a legacy to and for our children. There is much to do…and the time to begin is now.

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The Prisoner's Prayer Book

Louise is author of The Prisoner's Prayer Book which evolved as she became a volunteer in prison ministry. Retired from a career in social services, Louise resides in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

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