Here & there: No, we are not going boating; election reflections

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION – Nov. 4, 2008. My 3-year-old and I were at loggerheads in the neighborhood elementary school parking lot, which was doubling as our neighborhood voting precinct. He was refusing to get out of the car and I just wanted to vote. The line was getting longer by the second.

The odd thing was, 20 minutes earlier I told him we were going voting and he eagerly dressed (albeit in clothes entirely unsuitable for a brisk November morning) and wolfed down his breakfast.

Something had changed. He now wore a bewildered expression on his plump face. When I instructed him to unbuckle and exit the car, it was as if we’d landed on the moon and I was asking him to leave the comfort of the shuttle without a spacesuit.

I implored him. I tried to bribe him. Finally, I informed him in no uncertain terms that he had to get out of the car because I was doing my civic duty and we were voting. V-O-T-I-N-G.

His face broke. “Voting?,” he said with a cry, “I thought we were going boating!” And then he burst into real tears.

I’m not sharing this story just because it’s cute and is election-themed. It is relevant today.

I see the same look my boy had when he realized we weren’t going boating that election day eight years ago as I now see on the faces of half our country, men and women alike, when I turn on the news.

Thursday’s online edition of The New York Times featured a photo of a demonstration outside Trump Tower in Manhattan. In the middle of it, there is a millennial man wearing a black hoodie, shoulders slumped, holding a sign that reads, “I’m just sad.”

Some of Utah is sad too. While our electoral votes and 46.8 percent of our popular vote went to Donald Trump, there was still a combined 48.4 percent of Utahns who voted collectively for Hillary Clinton and Evan McMullin instead of the victor.

Obviously, sadness is not the only emotion. There is disbelief, anger, fear – and conversely, joy, vindication and hope.

Ecstatic or distraught, fearful or hopeful about the results, these are not the first strong emotions in this election.

There were big feelings across the nation from the start – from before the start. Look not only to the movement behind Donald Trump but also to the movement behind Bernie Sanders.

Many Americans are feeling left out, excluded and forgotten. Whatever else there might be going on, there is that — even if you don’t feel that way; even if I don’t feel that way; and even if we don’t understand.

Something’s got to change.

Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress say they have their mandate for change.

But what about the rest of us? What is our mandate from this election?

Republicans, Democrats, Trump supporters, Clinton supporters or McMullin supporters, whoever we are, we have a mandate for change, too. We have a mandate to change how we deal with opposing views – and how we deal with one another.

Salt Lake County went to Hillary Clinton. I’ve heard from several friends in my neighborhood here that they didn’t even know anyone who was voting for Donald Trump. They were shocked when he won.

Why? Because we all have become so comfortable within our own circles, our own Facebook feeds and our own ideologies that we don’t even understand the other side anymore. Maybe we don’t even recognize there is another side – at least not a valid one.

Desmond Tutu once said, “If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friend. You talk to your enemies.”

That is our mandate today: to talk to our political enemies, our fellow Americans. We need to talk with them, those who differ from us in all the meaningful ways, not so they can change us to their way of thinking or even so we can change them to ours, but so that we can both change. For the better. Together.

Kat Dayton is a columnist for St. George News, any opinions given are her own and not representative of St. George News.

Email: katdayton@gmail.com | news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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13 Comments

  • .... November 13, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Awwww isn’t that cute a picture of RealLowlife having a temper tantrum. ..whaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaa

    • Real Life November 13, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Very creative, and adult like!

      • .... November 13, 2016 at 12:58 pm

        Whaaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha !

      • Real Life November 13, 2016 at 5:51 pm

        Drugs: get off them. Job: get one.

        • .... November 13, 2016 at 8:12 pm

          Ha ha ha what’s up cry baby Lowlife. ?Whaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaa LOL !

  • NotSoFast November 13, 2016 at 9:08 am

    It’s your right to think the world should revolve around you and your dreams. But how about your neighbors? Can’t you share in their joy?
    Next time, try early voting and take your son boating. The happy look on his face will stay in your memory forever.
    McMullen? Who in the heck is he? A car salesman?

  • ladybugavenger November 13, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Dot, how did they get your picture? Haha! now that’s some funny stuff right there!

    • .... November 13, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      Your to late one for that one Ladybug. That’s already been tagged as cry baby RealLowlife’s picture.

      • ladybugavenger November 13, 2016 at 9:26 pm

        Better than never 😉

    • Real Life November 13, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      Lol! That’s his picture all right, you nailed it Ladybug.

      • .... November 13, 2016 at 10:38 pm

        LOL ! that’s RealLowlife’s picture all right ! I nailed it ladybug

    • Real Life November 13, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      Probably when he couldn’t find his pills!

    • Bob November 13, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      aww, did they take poor Dump’s pills away? 🙁

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