MUSINGS ON THE MIDTERMS
By: Brian Allen, Vice President Government Affairs, Mitchell
Much has already been said about the red and blue aspects of the midterm elections, but in my opinion, the pundits are missing the point. Voters turned out in record numbers for a midterm election motivated more by issues and less by party, resulting in the gains made by both Democrats and Republicans.
Outside of the rabid political circles, Americans are much more unified than divided. Most Americans are concerned about their families, health, employment and faith, and less concerned about political parties. Most Americans care deeply about the future and the America that their children and grandchildren will inherit. Post-election polling data indicates that most Americans don’t care about Russian collusion but do care about health care, jobs and national security, issues that impact them and their families on a personal level.
What gets lost in the national conversation on politics is that the average American of any race, socio-economic status, age or geography cares a lot more about what happens in their neighborhood and is largely ambivalent about the goings on in Washington. When neighborhoods are faced with problems, neighbors come together to find solutions and don’t wait for politicians to come to the rescue. Our friendships and common goals transcend political affiliation. The Americans I have met of all political persuasions, or fiercely independent, all agree that the tone emanating from Washington on both sides is divisive and not reflective of the views of the people. We expect our leaders to set a positive example and not engage in verbal street brawling. Everyday Americans realize the challenges facing our country require our best, united efforts focused on results and not rhetoric.
No matter how you feel about the election outcome, do not despair. Alexis de Tocqueville once stated, “America is great because she is good…” Our goodness stems from the collective heart and voice of the people.
This sentiment is illustrated well by Major Brent Taylor’s story. On Election Day, the body of Major Taylor returned to US soil. Major Taylor was a Utah National Guardsman deployed to Afghanistan and killed during an inside attack. Just prior to his death, Major Taylor posted a plea on Facebook urging Americans to vote, to support freedom. An Afghani military pilot who worked with Major Taylor penned a letter to his widow that read, in part, “Your husband taught me to love my wife Hamida as an equal and treat my children as treasured gifts, to be a better father, the be a better Husban (sic), and to be a better man.” Major Taylor embodied who were are as Americans. The goodness of America was reciprocated when the GoFundMe page for his widow and seven children raised over $300,000 in less than 48 hours, from people across the country.
My hope is that the newly elected politicians will tap into that heart of America and learn to disagree without being disagreeable, to find compromise and encourage a tone of unity to prevail; but the politicians will do as they do. As long as we, the people, remain committed to goodness by being kind, charitable, forgiving, engaged in noble causes, and selfless, America will remain great. The goodness of the people can and will outlast any given political climate and injustice in the country, though it sometimes takes time. This has been true throughout the history of our republic and, in my view, based on countless interactions with everyday Americans in my travels across the country, it is still true today. America is great because her people are good.