November has always been a tough month for me. For one thing, I seem to be allergic to it, because I honestly can’t remember the last time I enjoyed good health during November. At the very least, I get a runny nose and post-nasal drip, which causes a sore throat and general crankiness. Some years I also get an ear and/or sinus infection but I’ve managed to avoid that this year…so far.
But my issues with November aren’t just physical. I hate how it gets dark just a little bit earlier with each passing day, and how the bare the trees look once they shed their colorful leaves. I don’t like having to rake up said leaves, especially since none of them are from trees in our yard. And those of us with dogs know the leaves on our lawn can cover up all sorts of things that we’d rather not step in, and yet I do, almost every time I go outside. I typically host our family’s Thanksgiving dinner, so I also stress over planning the menu and figuring out where I stored my big turkey-roasting pan.
But this November has been particularly hard, because it included an election day. Few things shake my faith in basic human decency more than an election. I don’t mind people putting up yard signs for the candidate they plan to vote for, although I don’t really see the point. If I want to vote for “candidate A,” I’m going to do so, even if I’ve seen fifty signs for “candidate B.” Still, yard signs are a nice way to show support for your favorite candidate, because they don’t hurt anybody.
The problem I have with the election process is the unbelievably vicious and negative tone of the campaigns, and I’m not just talking about the TV ads or the circulars that get stuffed in my mail box every day. Those are horrible, and my personal response is that after I’ve seen a few, I don’t want to vote for any of the candidates. Not because I believe the bad things they are saying about their opponents, but because I don’t want to vote for anyone who tries to win by smearing their opponent. And these days, that’s basically everyone.
Social media is worse. I only do Facebook, thank goodness, but even then I see way more hateful memes that I can tolerate. And the really bad thing is, it makes me think just a little bit less of the person who is posting. I know politics is the ultimate “them and us” situation, and it’s easy to think winning justifies any amount of fear-mongering and mud-slinging, but it still gives me pause. And not in a good way.
The elections are over as I write this, although there are a few races still “too close to call.” I don’t know what the outcome will be, other than that approximately half the nation will be happy with the results and the other half will be unhappy. But whether happy or not, those of us who live in the US are all still Americans. And it’s way past time we learned to live and work together peacefully despite our differences. Because we’re not a “Blue” nation or a “Red” nation. We’re a mixture of the two, which can make for a very nice color indeed….