Citizen Wausau

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Elections Can Damage Our Souls

by on November 5th, 2014

Some of you dear readers know me, some of you just read this stuff.  If you do not know, I am a political person.  I believe in the importance of being politically engaged.  I also have a world view that lines up with a certain party.  More than the politics though, I believe and am enamored by PUBLIC POLICY.  But, like my main man Rob consistently reminds me, you do not get to make public policy without going through politics.

Regardless of the results last night, it is my sense that this was a cycle of campaigning that was hard on all of us.  I know some of the Republican crew, and they just seemed whooped at some points, incredibly negative, and just bummed.  The Democrat staffers were just the same.  Local people as well, those who engaged by volunteering for whatever task, all seemed to be operating under a black cloud.

Last night the winners were jubilant, and the losers were bummed.  Winners were gracious, and losers put on a brave face.  It was all what you expected it to be, if you pay attention.  If you do not pay attention, in a lot of ways this sort of thing is just a giant distraction.  But, a case could be made that it is not meaningless.

But, this stuff hurts us, I think.  I have a friend in the media who is clearly hurting emotionally based on the sort of exposure that these seasons can have on a person.  Another reporter I know is wrapping up her career as a reporter, simply because this is unappealing.  A lot like looking at violent images, after a while it scars you.

And I think that is apt.  We expose ourselves to a population level fight.  A war, a battle, whatever descriptor you want to use.  It comes down to neighbor on neighbor conflict.  Not always civil, not always respectful, often times mean spirited.  We spent months watching strangers say, do, post, react to, video, stream, whatever…positive and negative, but a lot of negative.  It seemed like a lot of “Vote for me because that guy is bad” going on.

And that leaves a mark I think.  I wonder if we are able to be something close to unified again.  Even 9/11, in that moment, on that day, all of us seemed to be able to shut up and support the nation.  Now it seems like we have lost that.  In the case of ISIS, or Ebola, or mass shootings, it turns into this other thing, this lube for the conflict machine to exploit.  That machine might be killing us.

Elections have consequences.  They result in legislative agendas that we support or do not support, and some of us rise up to engage that stuff.  We try our best to make the world a better place for everyone.  And it is my contention that both Mary Burke and Scott Walker ran for office to make the world a better place for all of us.  They just have different ideas on how to do that.

I have hope that we can respond to this funk, and get back to loving one another, and being Americans.  Get back to being from Central Wisconsin.  I am psychically tired from this round of elections.

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