So even though it’s 432 days (I counted, really I did) until the next Presidential election, we’re already in the thick of it with every Sunday talking head show, every news broadcast, every magazine cover already promoting or bemoaning or posturing or pontificating about that uniquely American method of the slash-and-burn, bullying and slick-talking process we engage in to elect the person who leads our country. Already I’m tired of it.
And Donald Trump is, not surprisingly, sucking up all the air and energy out of this beauty pageant of candidates. Trump always follows the golden rule: he who has the gold rules. So that he can garner attention by speaking louder than anyone else is not a surprise. He’s on offense; everyone else is playing defense, probably as well as the New York Jets play defense. And his big catchphrase is that we need to make America great again.
My America is great and always has been. No matter what your financial situation is, we’re better off than many millions of people around the world. We have clean water to drink, we have food to eat, we have fresh air to breathe. We have freedoms like few other countries: to speak our minds without fear of retribution, to worship our God freely, to travel without fear of detainment, to prosper and succeed when given the opportunity.
But we – individually and as a country – can be greater because growth is always a good thing. Here are some good ideas (at least I think they are) about how we can start.
Let’s bring back civility into our world. Please and thank you go a long way whether you’re dealing with the guy who serves your coffee or the cleaning person in your office or your child’s teacher or the police officer who protects your neighborhood every day.
Let’s stop calling each other names. Every immigrant is not a rapist or a drug lord. Women are not cows or beasts. Senator John McCain is a war hero, not a dummy. I could go on but you get the gist of what I’m saying. This is what passes for intelligent dialogue from someone running for the greatest position in our country. But why would we want to be that person or have that person represent us so that we have a President who believes insulting people is how you achieve maximum results?
We should be celebrating people, being kind to each other, lifting each other up. Every day I try to pay my blessings forward, whether it’s telling someone I like the way they look to thanking the stranger for opening a door when my arms are full of packages to waving my gratitude at the person who lets me merge in to a busy lane of traffic to the acquaintance who I give a shoutout to for liking something I said on social media. It makes me feel better and I hope it makes them feel good too. And it costs you nothing, save a few moments of your time, and can be a defining moment in that person’s day, or maybe even their life.
Let’s help each other when we can. If you’ve never been down on your luck, bravo to you and remember to count your blessings. But that doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on someone who needs some temporary help because of a situation that may or may not be anything they have any control over. Don’t blame or shame someone who has to ask for help because if you take away their pride, you might be taking away all they have left. It takes a very strong person to humble themselves and ask for help. Let’s honor their strength, instead of labeling them with stereotypical words. Believe me, I have been in the position of having to ask for help when I found myself in dire straits. That I had angels who supported me in every way made all the difference in my ability to face my challenges the next day with a renewed determination to move forward.
Let’s educate ourselves and our children to make this world and our country a better place. Read a book to your kids, write a poem, listen to your parents tell their stories again and again and write them down so you’ll remember them when they’re gone. Pick up the phone and call your friends, walk your dog and say hi to your neighbors, write a check to your favorite charity. Donate your old clothes, listen to your cubicle mate’s problems without judging, thank a veteran. Hug someone, kiss someone, tell them you love them before they’re gone and the chance has vanished like the sun setting.
Make your life count. Make a difference. Make America greater. But you’re wrong, Mr. Trump; America is already great and you can’t convince me otherwise.