It’s an election day and I realize I am totally unprepared. Up until this year, I have been voting in Seattle. Though not an overly-involved political person, I did take the time to review the issues, read through the voting materials and make sure I mail my ballot well ahead of the deadline. In Montana, however, I am not yet engaged in the local issues or even the bigger state elections. I imagine it will take a couple hours today to review the ballot before I am ready to head to the polls before closing and cast my vote. I read in the news about the Tea Party rocking and rolling the traditional party lines. This election will likely reflect a country angry and frustrated by a House and Senate that has still not made significant gains in healing the economic crisis or ending the current wars. I should be engaged, but really, though I am discouraged by the progress of this administration in some areas, I don’t think it is fair or smart to judge and radically change my commitment to the course that Obama set in motion just two years ago.
When trust has been broken in a couple or family, it can take years for the family system to get back on track. In organizations, one of the biggest factors in high turnover rates is burnout, fatigue and transition overload (meaning one change after another without addressing the psychological factors involved in shifting too fast and too often). Our country is like a big family or organization and trust had been broken. Though I might not agree with all of Obama’s decisions, I honestly do not believe Obama has done anything to further breakdown trust. As a matter a fact, I think he has been steady and clear in his direction; repairing international confidence in who we are, taking responsibility and accountability for a war he did not believe in from the start, recognizing that our economy is not a quick fix problem. We may not like him for his honest, transparent and non-heroic style, but in terms of rebuilding trust—well, that is what it takes. There are no heroic solutions for rebuilding trust, just disciplined, honest and vulnerability-based effort.
Tomorrow we may wake up and find our world has shifted. The voters will have spoken and there will be stories about the changes. It’s either a vote of confidence or a vote of no confidence. I would hope that whatever happens, Obama stays steady. He wasn’t making much progress with the House stacked in his so-called favor—so really, what would be different?
There are no magic pills or politicians that are going to solve our economic situation overnight, or get us out of Afghanistan, or off a terrorists’ hit list within the next year. The best thing we can do is stop looking for the quick fix and stop blaming the other party.
That is why I haven’t been too excited about this election. Like many, I am not satisfied with the current state of affairs. I guess I don’t want to assume changing policy is really the root of the problem. We are a country with shifting paradigms. We are no longer Top Dog, just one of a pack. The Top Dog stuff shows up so clearly in our politics and it’s course in every election. Are we Republican or Democrat? Who’s on top and really does it matter? Isn’t it time we stopped that game?
I don’t care who wins today. I am only interested in getting beyond the Top Dog stuff and getting back to caring about people and how we play together in our playground and out in the world.
I am ready to be part of the pact and work together. I am not certain that I will vote locally today but I will commit to whatever the outcome is. To me, that means working in my world to keep rebuilding trust, to be honest, humble and responsible for the choices and actions I take.