As a little girl, my dad would take me and my younger siblings to visit his parents on a regular basis. Their television would almost always be on and set to something important like Wimbledon or the Olympics or, when there wasn’t much else going on in the world, my grandma would have it set to one of her favorite daily soap operas. I can still hear some of the theme music playing in the background, and I remember well the vivid colors of the NBC and CBS logos. Of course, back then, we were limited to three TV stations; not like today where we have hundreds of channels to choose from and still, at times, there seems to be nothing on cable or the Internet worth watching.
During really important times, such as space launches, my grandparents would be practically glued to the TV set on that particular day. My dad would make sure us kids knew this was serious and we needed to be really quiet so nothing would be missed. I’ll have to say we were pretty glued to the TV ourselves, especially during the countdown. I loved hearing the words, “lift off!”
And then, of course, there were presidential elections and debates. As far back as I can remember, anything to do with the election of a new president would bring the country to turmoil and its people much anxiety. Riots would occur. Many words would be said in the name of love and hate. And, some presidents, one when I was a year old, were even killed to keep them from bringing harm, or perhaps good, to our country.
Since I was born in November 1962, I have had the privilege to live under many presidents; all of whom have been great men in their time, accomplishing many good deeds and, for those who are no longer with us, leaving a legacy for their families and friends, their community, and their country. I didn’t always like who became president, but under my parents and grandparents tutelage, I was taught to respect the position of president and to understand that the man was, one, elected by the people and, two, voted on through a process that would have eliminated him had he really been that bad of a person. I also learned to respect that every person has a right to their own opinion, and not to knock someone else’s opinion down as I surely wouldn’t want mine to be knocked down.
Being young, I wasn’t sure what to believe, but I had enough sense to observe the people around me and how they behaved and interacted with each other regarding their likes and dislikes of whoever happened to be president, or was being voted into office, at the time. Over the years, I have found that my grandparents were right about many things. One is that every person has a right to an opinion; two, it is better to choose to respect that the other person has a right to their opinion and to agree to disagree about it; and, three, learn to know when to end a heated discussion, as no subject or opinion is worth losing one’s temper, or friendship, over. These are lessons I still live by today.
I wonder, as I quickly skim my news feed for the latest on what’s happening with our new and most recent president, what my grandparents would think about today’s social media. I’m sure it would be mind-boggling for them. As I get ready to shut off this computer, I take a deep breath and I remember that this is nothing new. It happens every time. Yes, every four years. Every time we have a presidential election, people go nuts. Despite how qualified a presidential candidate is or how smart they are or what good they might do, if a person is against them, there will be dissension. Some people can get so passionate or dispassionate about who won or lost the election, that they lose focus on their daily lives and goals, becoming miserable with themselves as well as the new president.
No, not much has changed over the years when electing a new president. A few people even think the world will end. Well, eleven presidents and thirteen election years for me now, and I’m still here. Through prayer and perseverance, I hope to see many more presidents elected into office, their chance to make a positive difference in the world. If not, there’s always four more years and the next election. In the meantime, I pray that our new president, and the people who work with him, will use the coming four years to make a positive difference in our lives, our country and our world. Remember, “We, the people….”