I can hear Wolf Blitzer in the other room announcing breaking news about which states have gone to the other guy. I mean, Wolf isn’t actually in the other room. It’s the television. The Republicans have pretty much won the House. There’s some sort of craziness in Virginia. Under the blare of the television, I can hear my husband, a naturalized citizen, explaining the results to my seven year old daughter and three year old son.
“Who’s winning?” the littlest one is asking not understanding these really big numbers that are far beyond the ten he can count on his fingers.
There’s no answer to that question, yet. Nobody can really tell what’s going to happen. In fact, I can hear snippets that indicate that even when the night closes and we think we know what’s happened, we may be wrong so we won’t really, really know what happens for a day or two.
I’m starting to get really nervous.
Someone mentioned on my Facebook wall that the outcome of the presidential election affects people far less than the amount they think and that we care too much about the federal elections when we should focus more on the local. I know this on a cerebral level, but it doesn’t matter. Today is about the kind of passion that only really hits us every four years. It’s a day where we all care a little more than usual about who is a winner and who is a loser tomorrow morning.
Federal elections are representative of an ideological tide to many of us. I embrace the passionate and emotional investment required of presidential elections because this investment is a sign of a deep love for our past, our present, our future — and our nation. Furthermore, when the side we supports wins, we feel affinity for our nation. When our side loses, we feel ostracized and alone. This passion makes it feel like a federal election is the ultimate act of putting it all on the line and waiting to see if you’re on the right “team.”
The interesting thing about passion, of course, is that it makes the truth of a thing difficult to identify.
We think it’s the economy. Or the right to life/choose. Or our national security. Or education.
Passions transform those issues into the real stakes, but you and I have to remember that we protected something far greater than the issues today and that no matter what happens tonight — we won. See, we can be horrified about what the other party plans on doing about marriage , abortions or immigration, but we win because we get a say.
No matter what happens tonight, we had an election, we participated, all of us were heard and we are all still in this together.
No matter who is the president of my nation tomorrow morning, it will still be my nation. And yours.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cainandtoddbenson/7175209698/
More on diversity, dialogue and multiculturalism in America at Faiqa’s Blog at Native Born or her co-produced interfaith podcast at Hey! That’s My Hummus! For mostly relevant updates, you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.