In November, 2020, I wrote about wanting to live in a purple world. I was exhausted, heading into a divisive election with both Reds and Blues raising their fists, making threats, and creating the most chaotic and dangerous election I have experienced in my lifetime.
The coronavirus did not help. States and cities created adaptations to help keep voters and voting personnel safe during the pandemic.
The few days before the election, I was craving calm, respect, and consideration of others. I was exhausted with all the Blues and the Reds, and longed to live in a Purple World.
My dream did not come true. What I feared before the election has become a vivid, real-life nightmare.
We are divided into two close-minded pods that can find no way to step back and listen to the other point of view. The result is people who take to the street with guns, make threats, rudely sling insults, and destroy property.
Tear gas is used on violent and peaceful protesters, lies are spread, and threats are made.
Purple is a pipe-dream, and uniformity is far from the world I want to be a part of.
I love our diversity. I enjoy conversations with people who bring different perspectives to this crazy life we share, and I enjoy mulling differing and possible scenarios.
I am grateful beyond measure that I live in a country that allows freedom of speech and gives each of us our constitutional right to vote. I appreciate that my state works to ensure that all voters are safe, free from fear of the state or intimidation from neighbors.
At least that is the world I was taught and still believe is possible.
I was well into my adulthood before I began to see the cracks in our democracy.
It appears that money buys votes and lies are used to influence voters who have not honed the ability to be skeptical. “Could that be true?,” is not something I hear very often.
Fear of the different leads us to band together into like-minded clans that use intimidation to influence the outcome of what we used to call ‘free and fair’ elections.
Being a first- and second-grade teacher brought me into contact with many children who believed that they could bully their way through life. One such youngster walked into my classroom on the first day of school and, with his arms crossed defiantly, announced, “You can’t tell me what to do!”
First, I raised my eyebrows. Then I smiled with a snicker, and then I laughed hysterically. In just a moment, he learned that however much he was in charge of his world at home, he was going to have to play by my rules at school.
We actually got along quite nicely after that first day.
Dianne Roth is a mother, grandmother, teacher, and freelance writer. She can be reached at: email@example.com