As we push towards this 2020 election there are so many issues that are prominent in the news and on social media. There are predictions of the votes, the results, the outcomes and the reactions. Many believe that no matter what the results are there could be severe consequences all over our country.
There is a polarization that feels extreme. It seems as if there is little or no middle ground. I listen to conversations in many different forums and some are brutal in their perspective and content. There is an overwhelming sense of fear that prevails in our country.
As we know from our neuroscientists the “fear factor” has the power to dysregulate our brains and leave us in places where our decisions are reflexive, our functional IQ drops, our heart rate rises and we find it very difficult to gauge time. If we think of an entire voting population that is that dysregulated it can be extremely destructive emotionally, relationally and even physically.
It is no wonder that we are struggling with this upcoming election. Somehow, we have reached this pinnacle of fear, anxiety, anger and intensity and are now poised for a serious reaction that could quickly move toward societal upheaval. We are seemingly bracing ourselves for the worst.
Our founding fathers left a legacy of what we call democracy. It is that process where Americans get the privilege to vote, to have a voice, to make statements, to disagree and to be engaged in political dialogue. At the core of this democracy is an assumption that even our disagreements are purposed to increase our awareness, understand the issues, debate for what we believe in and even agree to disagree. Yet as strong as those issues are, there is an underlying commitment of respect for personal equality and an overall concern for the good of our country and all of its citizens.
If America is going to continue to be a country of justice, safety, prosperity and growth at the most basic levels, we as citizens of this democracy must work together to ensure that we have the balance of open dialogue as well as support for all in our country. Our values of equality, care for others, responsibility, compassion and respect for everyone’s rights must be a part of our political and societal fabric that makes us unique as well as a country that is a true leader in our many spheres of global impact.
We should not be teaching our children and teenagers about the power of fear. We should refrain from name-calling and abusiveness. We must fight as hard for our democracy and unity as we do for our own perspectives and beliefs. We know that different administrations come and go and that political trends are ever-changing. What is and should be permanent is our support for each other and for the freedom that our country has offered to each of us and to the world.
I hope that as we vote and respond to the results that we can see beyond our fears and look to the future positively as we work towards being the country that has brought us to this place of potential growth and new discoveries. When the people have chosen our next group of leaders there will be new opportunities that will allow us to continue this discourse about the true American dream. Please vote and then be a model of citizenship, peace and compassion!
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO