" Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight. And it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter -- the chance to cast their ballots like we did today."--President Barack Obama in speech just after re-election.
For the past year, I have expressed my political views on Facebook, a forum that makes it easy to say: I believe everyone should have affordable health care, access to an equal and excellent education, freedom of speech and religion, the right to marry a same-sex spouse.
Facebook and blogging allow me to express my deepest beliefs in a creative solitary environment doing the thing I like most--writing. Sometimes I feel like I am writing out into the void. Other times, people let me know they are listening/reading. It feels great when they agree. But it also feels great when they disagree.
Once a Facebook Friend wrote: You must not think before you speak because what you're saying is a lot of crap. Or something to that effect.
I wasn't fazed.
I wrote back and said, I do think long and hard before I express myself and I'm so glad you wrote back to tell me how you feel. Isn't it just wonderful that we are having this open conversation? Let's talk about the details...
President Obama's speech tonight hit the perfect mark. He has inspired me to know that it's okay to continue to speak out about what I believe in. But it's okay, too, when others disagree. "These arguments," he said, "are a mark of our liberty."
I'm so glad he reminded us to continue to talk out our views, examine the different sides of an issue, express our opinions, and argue if we have to. It's the way to not only examine our differences, but to discover our commonalities, which will be many. What we want as human beings is often just the same thing, though we may come at it in different ways.
I hope in the next four years, all participants involved in the political process will keep talking and arguing, but then, take the next step and find solutions through compromise. Bipartisanship is the only way to stay afloat, to move forward, to keep peace. And we can start by "self-governing" as President Obama said. Bipartisan participation and cooperation should start at home and we should teach it to our kids. Maybe then it will become a mainstream part of the political system and we, as individuals, can finally come together as a nation.