August 17th, 2019

The Freedom to Elect, The Freedom to Cry

By G. E. Shuman
Well, after about two years of campaigning, reporting, sniping, chiding, protesting, polling, and many other gerunds, our country’s presidential election is finally over. The people have spoken, as they say, and we have a new president-elect. In all earnest, I do wish he and his team well.

I don’t use this column to push any political agenda, (not that people want to hear my opinion anyway) and, although I do have my own thoughts on little issues like the future direction of our nation, I don’t spend much time trying to persuade others to think like I do on such things. Maybe that’s not the attitude I should take, but it is the one I do take. The truth is, I believe that there was a reason for the invention of voting ‘booths’. Those booths exist to make making our choices, and filling in those little ovals beside all of those names on the ballot, private. It’s really none of anyone else’s business who you voted for. I hope, if an exit polling person asked you that question, that you lied to them. To me, this is the only situation of life where lying is good. If the information they cull from that question turns out to be wrong, maybe they’ll stop asking. It’s not like knowing how voting is going will change the end result anyway, or, at least, it shouldn’t. Our two main political parties have always been opposed, because if they weren’t, there would only be one real party, and we would be Russia. What fun would that be? In some ways the national political game in our country seems to be very much like a sport, and one that every adult citizen here has a chance to participate in. I think it would be healthy for our nation if more of us got off the bench and into the game, but no one should tell any of us what team to be on.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, and do not believe in some shadow government being behind the scenes, pulling the strings of the Democrats or the Republicans. For Pete’s sake, the elected people in Washington, D.C. haven’t been able to get along long enough to pass any meaningful laws that will ‘stick’ for a very long time. If some shadowy types are trying to take over, they certainly are taking their sweet time doing it.

Also, I don’t believe that Hillary Clinton is the devil, or that she will likely ever go to jail. I also don’t believe that Donald Trump is the devil, or that he will ever try to send her to jail. Both of those people, for better or for worse, for straighter or for ‘crookeder’, are just people. I do hope that our President-elect will do all that he can to unite our people, and to get our economy perking again.

A few days ago, I read an article about a new law in the country of China. The law, somehow, forbids the Chinese people from calling the leader of North Korea, Mr. Kim Jong Un, fat. Seriously. If you haven’t heard about this, Google it. Even though calling someone a derogatory name does not show good manners, in China it is against the law, at least if you are referring to Mr. Kim. The fact that he really IS fat is irrelevant. (In some parts of the world, speaking the truth isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, if you want to avoid going to jail.)

Our country is much more tolerant than that. Here you can get college credit for protesting the results of an election, you can be excused from exams if you are just too torn up by the thought of the coming presidency, and on some campuses, you can even enter crying rooms and play with Play-Doh to help you cope with it all. (Oh, dear dear).

Personally, I’m very thankful for our system of electing our leaders, that we still have the freedom to do so, and that we always have a relatively smooth transition of power in our country. Also, here, although it may be rude to use less than complimentary nicknames for people, you probably won’t go to jail if you call me fat. Still, I may be forced to find a crying room and some Play-Doh, if you do.

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