Wednesday, November 7, 2012

We're still the United States

Watching the election results pour in last night was not unlike watching a high-stakes football game. The screen showed scores by team color, tallying points and predicting results. The crowds waiting for each candidate cheered and waved flags like fans on a Saturday afternoon. All across the country, people made it clear which side they were on. There were even T-shirts for sale with the candidates' images emblazoned on the front. The various news shows began to bear a striking resemblance to ESPN's Gameday and SportsCenter.

It was last night, however, when it struck me exactly where the similarities ended. Though the crowds that had gathered awaiting a victory speech resembled those that gather for a football game, they were waving matching flags. Identical. Little American flags. Red and blue, Republicans and Democrats, their flags were the same.

As the evening wore on, one set of flags waved considerably more than the others, and it slowly became clear which side had won. But if that's the way we think about it, we all lose. We aren't two opposing teams playing for the championship. We aren't trying to win - there isn't anything to win. We all want the same things for our families, our neighborhoods, our towns and states and our country. We want a better future for our children and a secure future for ourselves.

It's time to stop choosing sides. If it becomes all about winning, we are all losers in the end, because Election Day is just one day in four years of decisions that make our country a better place for all of us. All of us, no matter where we live or who we are, are capable of doing something to make America better. When we stop thinking about losing and winning, we can start to move in the right direction. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to start today.

How do you help make America better? What ideas do you have? Share below in the comments!