What is left when the show is over, when it’s time to pack up and leave the arena, after the fat lady has sung?Will half of our population go off and sulk for the next four years if it is their candidate that loses the presidential election tomorrow?In a very few minutes last evening, I had the snippets of a great conversation with a good friend whose thinking about presidential politics is different frommine.He is going to vote for Romney and I have voted for Obama.In just a moment, I will tell you about this conversation, but first, a little background is in order.For more than four years I have written frequent blogs about what I think and believe with regard to the two candidates.In doing so, I have shared my efforts with a wide variety of people; those who share my beliefs and those who don’t.It has never been my intention in doing so to simply “sing to the choir,” but to engage in meaningful discourse with those who disagree with me, not to sway their choices or opinions, but to push myself to examine my own beliefs and conclusions.It is my fervent belief that America is truly unique, among all nations, in the zealous provision for, and protection of, freedom of speech and expression via the guarantees of the First Amendment of our Constitution.The use of the word “zealous” is appropriate here because since 1776 brave men and women have died to create and protect this right, first among others.My blogs have received a wide array of responses ranging from vitriolic to nonsensical to well-reasoned viewpoints very different from my own.The good friend mentioned above is in the latter category.On several occasions he has replied in writing with detailed, common-sensical, expressions of his views.
My friend’s adult daughter visited with him and his wife this past week. Their conversation turned to the difference in the views and opinions he and I have on issues such as who should be the president of the United States.His daughter expressed a degree of amazement for and wondered, in effect, how in the world the two of us could get along and enjoy our friendship, frequent golf, etc., when our views are so far apart.In telling me about his daughter’s reaction, he started to say how it was possible because we confined the expression of our opinions to the written word.The conversation ended abruptly at that point because my garage door opener failed and I had to tend to it.I think the point he was making is true.Putting ideas in writing generally causes one to be careful about what and how ideas are expressed.In saying this I do not include the ‘monkey, n- word, Muslim/socialist e-mails that circulate continuously on the e-mail circuit.But there is genuine value in, and respect for, sharing different viewpoints among those who can agree to disagree without bitterness or rancor.Why is it necessary to hate the opposition?Last night’s snippet of conversation summarizes where we all need to be; win or lose, we are all Americans and should stand as one in support of whatever candidate wins in returning this country from the brink of disaster.We can agree to disagree and live in perfect harmony . . . as long as the other guy gives me three strokes.