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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Elections of Hope; Elections of Fear

No matter your political affiliation, it is hard to argue that President Barack Obama ran his campaigns on a platform of hope. For 8 years, he painted the image of a brighter, more unified America that was capable of overcoming our social ails and reminding the rest of the world why we're the greatest Nation. Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, and no matter on which side of the aisle your support falls, can we agree for a minute that millions of Americans went to the polls is 2 subsequent elections driven by 'hope'?

I had the sobering thought today that the 2016 election is not based on hope, but on fear, from both sides.

On one side, there is fear of established government and more of the same. There's fear that America will never be "great again." This segment of the voting populous is concerned that we've escaped traditional American values and that we must do everything we can to get them back. Sadly, this group also likely fears the idea of a female President. Afterall, until quite recently, the American President has always been a White male. They experienced the change with the rest of us, and they didn't like it.

On the other side, the fear is based on hate-filled language, perceived incompetence, and promises for sweeping changes to a system they've come to know, understand and trust. There is fear of walls erected and liberties trampled and rhetoric rather than action. There are likely other fears that I'm not even beginning to cover.

My fear is the result of fear on our democracy. What happens when we go to polls, or worse - avoid the polls - because we are driven by fear? What happens to our level of excitement, or worse - our level of apathy - when we know we haven't provided our best hope for the country?

It's been my experience that decisions based on fear rarely end well. We may make what seems like the best decision in the moment. We choose between the lesser of two evils. We select the option that hurts less. But in the end, we still suffer.

It's too late to undo the process that lead us here. And while I certainly have a preferred outcome, my outcome is still based on what I fear. Perhaps something will happen between now and November that will spark some hope in me, but for now . . . I'm fearful.

How about you?