I have lived long enough to see how this plays out. Hatred is never a winning hand. Neither is selfishness.
As a lawyer, I chose to avoid handling divorce cases early in my career. They are, for the most part, bitter, protracted, and driven by vengeance, entitlement, and hatred. And in every instance, when the case concludes, neither side wins. Occasionally, more rational heads prevailed; the parties recognized their differences, committed to being civil, and sought common ground for the kids’ sake. Even if they did not have children, the best humans made concessions and divided up property equitably or willingly provided for the spouse with more significant needs.
Today, as the country barrels on towards a murky election day, driven primarily by self-interest or hatred for the opponent or other party, we are all destined to be losers on November 4th, 2020.
Take a step back from the emotions and examine your position and the motivations that drive your desire to vote. Better yet, if you don’t vote, what accounts for your apathy?
Admit it: in this political system, the love of your candidate isn’t likely what motivates you to vote. Instead, it is either an intense disdain for the other candidate or, more telling, disdain for the other party and those who support the ideology and its candidate.
If you dare, drill down to the core of your intense feelings. You’ll likely find out it is about you and your self-interests. What is the other party taking that you feel entitled to keep? What are you fiercely protecting that you consider to be yours?
When we are driven by self-interests or hatred, it is impossible to see the other side as humans, compromise our position, and provide for their needs. Even if those needs are generations-long, we can’t do that if it is only about us.
In the final analysis, this election isn’t about what you think you deserve; others do not. It is about what is best for everyone. And you can’t get there without stepping away from you.
As in all bitter divorces, both parties lose if we do not step outside our emotions and be objective, dispassionate, caring, and selfless in our intent and actions. The relationship breaks beyond repair, the family house is gone, and the kid’s lives are ruined.
History is clear about how this turns out—fear, hatred, violence, militia, military, tyranny. If we are arrogant enough to believe we are better than what history has taught us, then we have already failed.
We may have one last chance to save this American Experiment. It will take thinking about the family first. You will realize you deserve a lot less than you think you do, and any hatred is destructive. You will listen to what the other side is saying instead of those voices of judgment in your head. Only then we might all have a chance to win.
If you cannot do this, then think about the kids. They don’t deserve all your hatred and self-interest. That much is certain.