Tomorrow our friends to the south (I’m in Canada… for the more geographically challenged, I am referring to the United States of America. Yes, I know about Alaska being part of the USA and being to the north… can we just get on with it? Thank you.) are going to the polls. The mid-term elections will see 35 and 435 members of Congress elected. Additionally, 36 state governors will be elected. There is little doubt in my mind that the next ninety-six hours will see wall to wall election coverage and spin. For the political fiends out there it will be glorious. For the rest it will be overkill.
I have been watching the US political landscape over the past thirty or so years, and I have seen some unfortunate trends; the worst of them, bar none, is the schism that has grown between the opposite ends of the political spectrum. Thirty years ago it would have been acceptable for people on the left to be friends with people on the right. Today, it seems harder even for people on the far-right to be polite with the people on the median-right, let alone the people on the far-left. There is so much hatred, so much disrespect, so much vitriol that it is hard to remember that these people are all citizens of the same country.
I hope that someone will find a way to start mending these fences. I hope that the two sides of the spectrum begin to realize that they are all Americans, and that they all, for the most part, seem to think their country is pretty great… and it is. Can it be better? Sure, every place can be. America is a project that started 242 years ago and has been evolving ever since. Parts have gotten better – the amber waves of grain across America’s breadbasket are truly a sight to behold. Have parts gotten worse? Sure – the poverty, crime, and violence of the inner cities is sad and needs to be solved. There is no more slavery, but there is still a racial divide. All of these are unfortunate aspects of a great country that can be fixed.
We in Canada love our American neighbours, even if we don’t always show it… there has been a lot of disrespect over the years, and I am sorry for it. I hate seeing it, but understand where some of it comes from… because we are not perfect either.
When we wake up Wednesday morning there will be changes to the political landscape… candidates elected or re-elected, lame ducks looking for work. I do not know which political party will have a majority in the Senate and Congress. I do know that I wish that all Americans, whoever wins, will find a way to mend the wounds that are clearly tearing the country apart. I hope that at some point the country can begin to heal… and one day truly be the great nation that your founding fathers yearned for.