Again today, I feel this is not a partisan time. The votes have been cast. In some cases they are still being counted, but the political statement has been made. As a country, we opted for someone with a different nature, more of an advocate than a monolithic warrior.
Yesterday, I made a few hours of Get Out The Vote phone calls. I went to the polls with my 9 year old daughter and her father (he wins the award for phone-calling stamina. He's been a GOTV Beast in the past couple of weeks.) She proudly helped me cast my vote and put the ballot in the scanner. We came home and relaxed for a while before I went out and watched the returns with a small group of women friends. I was up until about 3 am. This is a lot of stimulation for me. Today, I am exhausted. I need to rest. Yet, I can't help but reflect.
That was a long presidential campaign. We're in the midst of huge crises. It has been emotional and ground-breaking. The election of Barack Hussein Obama is historical, of course. It is cathartic. We pride ourselves on the principle in one of our founding documents that "all men are created equal" while not mentioning that in the same document some men were considered less than human. Were being bought and sold and treated worse than animals. It has been a shameful hypocrisy we have not come to terms with fully. By lifting up someone from within that oppressed class to the highest office in our land, we begin, yes begin, to transform. It's a beautiful thing, though the process can be painful.
We didn't elect this man because of the color of his skin, though. We elected him because of the color of his mind. His way of being. It's not simply his extraordinary accomplishments. it's the lens through which he sees the world. He doesn't define someone with an opposing point of view as an enemy. He sees that person as someone to hear out and keep talking to. Someone from whom he might grow. He doesn't define our country's richness by the measure of it's monetary wealth. He defines it by how we treat the least amongst us and what we do for each other. In short, he is not fear-based and he doesn't incite us to act based upon fears. He is faith-based and he inspires us to step forward from faith. He is willing to express his grandest self and he encourages us to do the same.
I see this election as one reflecting a new generation, not necessarily one about race relations. At 45, I was technically born in the last of the Baby Boomer years. I straddle two generations. I can hear the different ways the people on either side of the generational divide speak and how they visualize human relations. McCain and Obama epitomized those differences. Obama talks about working while McCain talks about fighting. It is the difference between seeing everything, even conflicts, as a challenge to be faced together rather than another battle to be fought. People die in battles. People achieve through work. Battles are wearying, work is rewarding.
This has nothing to do with partisanship. Someone who believes in Trickle Down Economics, for instance, can readily employ a rhetoric of working together rather than a "fight, fight, fight" mantra. A strong leader can speak with those that threaten us without condoning or encouraging the threat. I would implore all of us, from all points on the political spectrum, to sit back and consider the tone of the campaigns. Recall the language that was used. Look at the body language of the two candidates - particularly with their families - and reflect upon the fact that The People came out in record numbers to choose the Advocate, not the Warrior. (I can't even count the number of people who are excited to have such an obviously functional and loving family in the White House. How long has it been?)
The Advocate works to resolve conflicts through a process which seeks truth and reconciliation via an impartial jury. The Warrior resolves conflicts by killing those he perceives to be his enemies. In a Warrior Campaign, the candidate assumes the moral authority to destroy his opponent through character assassination. The ends justify the means. In an Advocate Campaign, the candidate assumes that he must present his case, let all voices about it be heard, and leave the judgment to the jury/electorate. The advocate works against actions and behaviors not against people. In my estimation, the new generation (exit polls showed that support for McCain increased with age) just told us that they are tired of the Warrior Way. They don't think it's serving us well. They see the world through a different lens than the previous generation. They know we're part of a global community. They know that the struggles facing the human race must be worked on as a unified whole. We must all stop and listen to each person and each country make their case. We must stand up to objectionable behaviors whilst pushing for people to work together, which can only happen if you don't vilify them. We have chosen Advocacy.
Advocacy is not easy. In comparison, war is an simpler construct. More lives are lost, but the defining the path of action is straightforward. By choosing Advocacy we've chosen a much harder piece of work. So, today, let's get some rest. Let's reflect on what this election has meant. Let's prepare ourselves for the work ahead. Before we can even begin the work of problem resolution, we have to learn a new process. A new way of engaging. Gather your energy. New ways require a lot of will. It's no longer a matter of "Yes, We Can", now it has to be "Yes, We Will." Let's all get ready for it......