I wonder. If we are truly “family” then we are like many families – highly dysfunctional.
The older I get the less I value the opinions other people have of me including my height and weight, my politics, my white hair, my house with the Tara columns, my old truck and car, my dog that jumps the fence on a regular basis which annoys me so I know it must annoy my neighbors, my sexual orientation, my “falling away” from the church, my obsession with the tennis majors and sports in general…so if you don’t like any of these traits, perceived foibles or inherited genetics well, to quote Rhett Butler, frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. At seventy years of age I’m not hopeful for makeovers in any of these areas.
Family, on the other hand, is a core value with me. You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family, can you? My family is what I started with, and my family will be what I end up with – if I have anything to say on the subject. So whatever attack you have up your sleeve, please don’t disrespect my family. I know I have cousins who aren’t what we hoped they’d be, but they’re my cousins after all and perhaps I’m not what they hoped I’d be, either. But hey, don’t disrespect my cousins in front of me.
The same feelings go with my country. I don’t know how I was fortunate enough to be born in the United States, but I was and am proud of it. Being an American is another core value for me – democracy is a fundamental principle that I cherish and every year or two or four I watch as the election process unfolds and shake my head or nod it at the conclusion of the campaign seasons when the results are announced. That’s that until the next time. Case closed. You win some. You lose some.
Here’s the thing. Don’t disrespect democracy – not in front of me, not now, not ever. Don’t sneer at what makes our country great right this minute – free elections with a smooth transition of power. Is the process absolutely 100% guaranteed to not have any flaws at all? Not a chance. But is the process and outcome a cornerstone of our family values as a free nation? You better believe it.
Some of us were born into the American family, some of us made a conscious choice to join our American family – but ALL of us believe that we wake up every morning in a free country where no one is about to form a military coup to pick our next President, don’t we?
So we are a dysfunctional family these days and this election season has been “nasty.” But make no mistake – our f-a-m-i-l-y is what we honor as Americans – it’s what we will vote to protect, preserve and defend on November 08th.