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Doug Verigin: Come Nov. 9, will we be able to respect again?

My wife and I were in a McMinnville gift shop recently where we discovered some clever figurines of famous people. My wife asked half-jokingly if they had any of the current presidential candidates. The shop owner paused, then explained she didn’t want to take the risk. “Risk?” we asked. She said she knows other retailers who are carrying political items this year, and these objects repeatedly trigger arguments and hostility among customers. Sometimes people become so angry they damage the merchandise. It seems shopping has become yet another venue for political combat.

I’m wondering, how are we all going to live after this election? Will all the anger and frustration magically disappear, or will it continue to seethe and rot at the core of our country and communities? After all the speeches end, and the dust clears, what are we left with? And who are we going to blame for this mess?

It seems clear the first step toward healing is regaining the value of respect. Respect for one another, regardless of political party, race, gender, religion or class, is essential in our increasingly pluralistic society. We must respect the fact that at the source of this all too prevalent anger there are real problems that need our attention. Solving these problems will require the help of the much vilified government.

Guest Writer

Doug Verigin spent 30 years as a market research consultant and business owner. He’s also a U.S. Navy veteran, a sailor, musician, proud father and husband. He currently resides in McMinnville where he’s exploring art and gardening.

And what of respect for the institution of our government? We relegate our responsibilities to politicians; we create an elite circle of the powerful, and trust them to run the show. Consequently, we become angry and frustrated when they disappoint us. Too often, we apathetically turn our backs and give up. Dr. Phil would ask, “And how’s that working for you?” This behavior isn’t showing due respect for our way of life and it won’t make America great again.

We’ve forgotten that the government of the people, by the people and for the people, is us; we are the people. Current polls show most people in the U.S. are dissatisfied with all the presidential candidates. How many of us have abdicated responsibility for this situation? Look more closely and note that only one in ten eligible voters participated in the primary elections (35 million). Mr. Trump received 7.5 million primary votes (3.8% of all eligible voters) and Secretary Clinton received 8.7 million (4.3% of all eligible voters). Perhaps our government deserves more respect from the people, enough respect that we pay attention and take responsibility for what our government does, and for whom we choose to elect.

It’s clear that for many of us, America isn’t great any longer. People can look at the dire situations in their own lives or the lives of their loved ones to prove their point. Factories closed and jobs moved elsewhere, leaving many to flounder in the economic backwaters of our society. Arguably, what made America great the first time was World War II. The country was struggling to recover from the Great Depression and then suffered a sneak attack much more devastating than 9/11. But when the chips were down, every person, regardless of background, put their hearts into the effort to save our society, and we’re here today because of it.

Leaders are important, but leaders don’t make America great. What makes America great are the people who live, love and work here. Being great again requires that we respect ourselves and one another. It requires that we understand that even in a perfect democracy, we are going to be disappointed half the time. As Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Regardless of which political cause or position we win or lose, we still must respect our responsibility for watching and guiding the government we create, and faithfully continue to seek the remedies needed to solve the problems of the day. Making America great again requires that we take the risk to both acknowledge and respect our differences without vilifying one another; and that we embrace our common bonds and values which are the heart and soul of this country and never, ever, take them lightly.

Comments

Bizzyditchaz

We get what we give. If we don't give our efforts as a whole we get back a fraction of what is possible. The complacency of most of the American people who sit at home and do nothing to speak their voices when the time comes devalues the basis to which this country was founded. We are all in this together and we ALL need to participate as such.

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