So, as always, I try to stay clear of these statements and discussions with students. What are the things you shouldn’t talk about at work…politics, religion, and….sex maybe…well, if not, those sound like good topics not to discuss at work
But, this post, while still politically based, has a different intention. The intention is to express the way I feel about the state of our country with no political lines drawn around it. I will go ahead and tell you, I am a registered democrat, but I do not vote a straight ticket and I most certainly never vote for the President of the United States by what political party he is aligned with. Now, certainly, there are issues that stay true to each party that make people lean towards voting more consistently with one party than another. My husband is a registered Republican, but we agree on many issues. So why, in a time where we push to break down the lines that divide people in our everyday life, do we continue to accept and basically thrive off of having a division between the people of US right down the middle? Why do we as American’s (the melting pot, the most innovative, the most _____you fill in the blank) continue to play into the “us” and “them” card? Every four years, why do we put two people who otherwise are two of the most respected people in the world for their intelligence, their national pride, and their dedication to country in front of the TV screen and start tearing them down for the accomplishments as well as the failures they have had in their life?
It is absolutely ridiculous to me. It really hit home this year when my 6 year became interested in the election. I noticed that everything that was being publicized on television as well as talked about amongst adults in ear shot of clever little ears were lessons that I actually preached against to my son. We teach our son to applaud accomplishment in others. We teach him to love his neighbors. We teach him good sportsmanship. We teach him to do his best everyday and no matter win or lose he should be proud of what he was able to do. We teach him that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all! Well, the election was definitely not modeling those lessons and many others.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he told me “I hate ___(fill in the blank of a presidential candidate___)”. I spun around quickly, shocked. One, because I didn’t think he knew anything about the election, and, two, because we do not “hate” things in our house. We can disagree, we can strongly dislike, but hate is a word that is reserved for the worst of circumstances and in most instances not used at all. So, this lead to a discussion with him about politics, the political parties, and how we make our decisions based on the issues the candidates stand for, not the candidates themselves. This amazing little 6-year-old actually sat with me for about 20 minutes and wanted me to read and explain the major points in each candidates platform. He then made his own decision on who he was going to vote for. And, I will tell you he decided he would vote for Romney because he liked his K-12 education plan, which is something that would be important to a kindergartener. Nothing made me more proud, because he did it because he believed in the issues. And, now that the election is over, do you think I have heard that little man say one negative word about where our nation is going or the state of our education system? NO! Because, we have taught him to do his best, but you win some and you lose some. We have taught him to be a good sport and that if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. And we have taught him to love his neighbors. Most importantly through this election we have taught him to love and respect his country and now that we have a president elected we stand behind him and those that help him make decisions. What we have taught him is that after this election, we drop the two sides and we come together as one. One strong body of people who respect each other and want the best for one another, because that is the road to success. I hope that we adults can actually model this for our young people – or maybe we need to learn from them.
So, anyway, my not so political statement may actually be pretty political. There may be people who say I am naive or that I have my head stuck in the sand. But, that could not be farther from the truth. I have my eyes wide open. I see all the division and all the hatred and all the anger. I choose to believe that we as a group of people are better than that. I choose to have faith in humanity and faith in Americans. I choose to have faith and hope. Hope for our country, hope for our future, and hope for our children’s future. We all have a choice. I hope the choice of the majority is to put aside the division and move forward as one.
What does this have to do with yoga? Not much…but yoga is the ultimate teacher or union. The yoking together of the mind, body and spirit in a way that makes us more connected to the bigger picture – to the universe – to each other. The Bhagavad Gita states, “Free from all thoughts of “I” and “mine”, that man finds utter peace.”
This is a little late in current events. I wrote this last week in the heat of the moment and then put aside to proofread later. Life happened and here it comes a week late. Hopefully still thought-provoking and hope you enjoy