Let me start by noting that I understand how disappointed you are that your candidate did not win the race to become President of the United States. I’ve been on the losing side of an election and I know that it can make you feel very dejected. No one likes to lose; especially an election where so much rhetoric was produced by heated debates and with no clear front runner going right up to election day. I honestly do understand your passion and commitment to a candidate and a cause. What I do not understand is hatred based solely upon a bumper sticker.
When you walked across the grocery store parking lot, and began screaming at me “THANK YOU FOR DESTROYING MY COUNTRY!!!” I at first thought you must have been yelling at someone else. Why on Earth would a stranger, someone I had never laid eyes on before in my life, be screaming at me at 9 a.m.?! It took a few seconds for my not-yet-awake-brain to register that you were actually yelling at ME… because of the bumper sticker on my car. I did try to be rational: I emphasized that I didn’t even know you. Your repeated screaming of “THANK YOU FOR DESTROYING MY COUNTRY!!” caused me to regrettably lose my cool and digress to calling you a not-so-nice slang term for the body part used to sit on a chair. I sincerely wish I had not done that.
What I do wish I had done instead was invite you to walk across the parking lot to the local Starbucks and have a cup a coffee with me. Why? Because there a few things I would like to tell you about me and why I truly love my country.
I believe in democracy and I believe in the process; even if I don’t always like the outcome. Our political system has endured and flourished for more than two centuries. We are so very fortunate to live in a place where both you and I can vote and choose our leaders. I do not take this for granted.
· I am the wife of a Veteran. I’ve lived through a long deployment and every day I am proud that my family can serve our country in this way.
· I’ve worked my entire career – as a state and federal government employee as well as within the non-profit arena – to improve the lives of adults, protect children, and keep our communities safe. I chose this career because I wanted to make our country a better place – not because I ever wanted to destroy it. I am not the enemy; I am your neighbor.
So much of what is wrong with our nation right now is perpetuated by this “if you do not agree with me; you are the enemy” mentality. Americans need to be better than this. A recent article by the always brilliant Danielle Brian of the Project On Government Oversight noted that: “All this anger and unwillingness to listen, currently typical of the American public, is also now typical in Congress. Gridlock and paralysis are the new norm as the members of Congress stick blindly to their party lines, rather than acting in the best interest of our nation.” My position is that we cannot expect Congress to behave better if we don’t start with the person in the mirror.
So, AWM, I hope your anger subsides. I hope you will never again accost a stranger in a parking lot based on nothing more than a sticker on a bumper. I believe you are better than that. I bet your Mama raised you better than that.