Vote on hopes, not fears

Published 10:36 am Friday, October 28, 2016

You may have already voted this year, but if you have yet to vote consider calling upon your “better angels” in the voting booth. Consider voting for the hopes you have, rather than the fears you harbor, for the ideas that advance America and not for the ways that divide Americans.

First, do not buy that America is in decline and things are getting worse. Sure, politicians tell us what is wrong and how only they can fix things, but they do so because if there is nothing wrong then they fear we will not need them or elect them.

America is doing pretty well right now. We are, really. From the 1920s to the 1950s we fought the Great Depression and world war, certainly not the best of times. In the 50s and 60s there were the Korean and Vietnamese wars and violence in the streets. From the 70s until the 90s we fought the Cold War and the very present threat of nuclear destruction. We had the savings and loan scandals. In the late 90s we had had the Dot Com economic disruption. In the first decade of the 2000s we experienced the Great Recession, the loss of home values, the near collapse of the stock markets and the banking system.

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Today, we have the strongest economy in the world, the most effective and mighty military, and are the world’s best innovators and inventors.

Our stock markets have recovered, restoring savings for so many Americans. We are creating over 170,000 jobs per month and have had the longest period of jobs creation since records were kept. Our unemployment stands at 5 percent.

We produce more of our own energy than anytime in the last 70 years.

We are not at war anywhere, though we continue to have troops near combat areas and are defending America and Americans around the globe with technology and partnering with other nations.

Of course, we still have issues that call us forward to keep the American project as the leader of the free world. We have not nearly solved race relations, but we have undertaken a new dialogue that holds promise. We have not been able to fully employ some Americans, particularly where globalism and technology have taken once career jobs. But our future certainly will include more automation and there can be no retreat to isolationism in a world made smaller and smaller by technology. We will, as we always have, confront these issues and find our new path forward in a way only America manages, by hope, change and innovation.

When you vote let your better angels remind you that the Statue of Liberty still stands boldly as a beacon of what has made this nation great, the infusion of those who come to America seeking to build their families where being different is exalted, not condemned. Remember that we are all immigrants, and are always a people of compassion for those in search of a better life.

Let your better angels remind you that those who demonize other Americans stand against our values, and their words do us all harm. We are more than Republicans and Democrats. We are called to be Americans, who place our nation’s needs before our political agendas.

Do not hear the siren call of those who tell you what we cannot do, but be attentive to those who tell you what we can accomplish together. We can rebuild our troubled infrastructure, we can demand a congress that works for us, and we can fix our too expensive medical costs and protect Social Security and Medicare.

When you vote, vote for those who offer an America not shrouded in desperation and despair, but an America doing well and moving forward. For that is who we are.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.