Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hope Instead of Fear

After two weeks of conventions, first the Democrats and then the Republicans, I became apprehensive about the next two months of campaigning because I noticed a distinct difference in the tone of the two gatherings.  

The first week was built on hope and solid ideas about how to build a better future. The second week was built on fear and was almost completely devoid of substance.

The first week made me feel like we can solve our problems if we can set aside our differences and work together. The second week made me feel sick and disgusted. 

The use of fear and "hot button" issues for political gain divides us when we need more than ever to work together. Some credit Richard Nixon and his media coach, Roger Ailes (Ailes went on to create Fox News), as being the first to exploit voter's fear and bitterness to win the election in 1968. In the last two elections, we have seen this tactic refined to the point where even a candidate's strength can be twisted into a liability by use of half truths or outright lies. 

Will we take advantage of our opportunity in this election to reject divisive politics or will we continue to allow ourselves to be manipulated?

When my shy 18 year old daughter stood up in front of more than 100 people at our caucus last February to speak passionately about why she decided to support Barack Obama, I suddenly realized this election is about her future and the future of all our children and grandchildren. For their sake we cannot afford to be complacent. For their sake we cannot allow fear and bitterness to divide us. For their sake we must learn to honor our differences and work together to find positive solutions to our problems. For their sake we can choose HOPE instead of fear.

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