I woke up with this crazy idea about unity. That we could get past the “Haha we won, suckers” portion of victory and move on to spending the next four years trying to achieve unity as a nation.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a crazy, naive idea that is.
The differences between us are not just on things like economy and defense spending. There’s a broader, more complex difference in opinions than in previous races, a widening gap created by bringing fundamentalism, ethics and religion into a political race.
In order to achieve a sense of unity there must be a common ground and I can not find a political common ground with people who believe rape is a gift from god, who believe a woman does not have the right to choose what happens to her own body, who believe that not everyone is created equal or should have equal rights. When our core beliefs - the right to choose, the right for people of the same sex to marry, the right to not have the tenets of one religion forced upon me - are so far apart there is no bridge big enough to close the chasm between us.
How do we unify as a nation?
Simple. We don’t. We can only go this far:
We respect the fact that people are entitled to their beliefs even if we don’t respect the beliefs.
That is the closest we can get to some kind of unity in a country where religious beliefs have taken on a big role in politics.
Truth is, I don’t want to be unified with Mitt Romney because to do so would mean compromising some of my beliefs. I don’t want to be unified with Paul Ryan or Todd Akin. I don’t want to be unified with a party that would take away some of my fundamental rights, or a person who believes 47% of the population is just lazy. I don’t want to stretch my ideals or shrink my ideals to find a common ground with people who would somehow use that ground against me.
I do respect your right to believe what you believe.
I do respect your right to voice your opinions.
But I do not believe we can take that respect and translate it into unity. And that’s not the fault of any side. It’s just the fault of human nature.
We have let a certain brand of fundamentalism come between us and that is not a gap we can close without either of us giving up who we are. Nobody wants to give up who they are nor should we ask anyone to do so just to form some kind of false sense of unity. For that kind of unity will always be false.
These are not going to be an easy four years. There is going to be a lot of acrimony.
I can only hope the person I put my faith in, the man I voted for, will do the best job he can always with the good of this nation and its people in mind, even without the prospect of any kind of unity.
I do not want to people to be arrogant about winning. Nor do I want people to be bitter about losing. I wish there was somewhere we could meet halfway.
All we can do is move forward and hope we find it.
I voted with those words in my head.
I wish there was room for unity there.
It’s 5am. I’ve slept about five hours in the past six days thanks to Sandy. I hope what just came out of my brain makes sense.