I read the Beacon obituary pages every day.
The obituary pages do not concern themselves with political points of view, arguments over how much tax money we get to keep, foreign policy distinctions or the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The daily obituary pages deal only with reality. Not perception, not opinion, not wishful thinking, not two contradictory explanations of what has just happened. Death has no political slant. Death does not vote for Democrats over Republicans or vice-versa. Death can't be used as a tool or a prop on a campaign stop. Death does not vote. Death cares not who runs government.
I bring this up because in spite of the fact that we have an extremely important American election coming in three days....one which many of us have been going back and forth over intensively for almost two years.....I think now's a good time to reflect a moment on what's truly important......not on what separates us, but on what unites us.
Those names and faces every day on the obituary pages represent all of us. Some voted Democratic during their lives, some Republican, some didn't vote at all. Some earned a lot of money, more
didn't. Some were highly educated and won awards, others were homeless without much of anything. Some were entrepreneurs and business owners, most not. Some had high I.Q's and had read hundreds of books, others couldn't read at all. The faces are new each day, the sadness palpable, the losses great.
Death should remind all of us, the daily obituary pages should remind all of us that, despite our political differences, we are all in this thing called life together and none of us will ever escape our common destiny. Liberal or conservative, black or white, male or female, gay or straight, rich or poor....we all mourn and we will all die. We are one people, indivisible, when it comes to death.
After the election is over the obituaries will still keep coming. After we cast our lot in with our favorite candidates on Tuesday, our lives will continue on just the same. We'll still have to pay our bills, go to work, take care of our families and continue on participating in this thing we call life.
Yes, we all want to think we're on the right side of issues, that we know the facts, that we're smarter than the next guy. We all want to be on the side of a winner, none desire to lose. At the same time, we all know what's really important...we do. I'm reminded each day as I turn to the back of section B.
No matter whether there is a Democratic president in D.C. or a Republican come January 20th, we will still love our families and friends the same, we will still rejoice when we hear the giggling of little children and we will still have our hearts broken when our loved ones are taken from us. The simple pleasures of a shared meal, a helping hand, a sympathetic ear will not be changed one iota after Tuesday night. Life will go on.
When it comes right down to it, none of us know much of anything about anything. Sure, we think we do. We put our best foot forward to make impressions or to support our arguments or to share what we've learned, but we know intuitively that life is not encyclopedic. It's much more than that. Instead, life is an experience, an adventure, if you will. A gift. None of us really knows much of anything about life because we've never been through it before.....how could we know?
What we do know is that we all live out our lives in the same free country of America. A nation whose founders recognized our commonality in the words, "liberty and justice for all." I'm still proud of those words. They are the words, the promise, of a United..States.....a united people sharing in the commonality of life, and death, yet doing so by perfecting, practicing and defending liberty and justice for each and every individual.
That is why we vote....not because our Donkey or Elephant candidate will save the world or usher in a utopia....not because one side is all bad and the other side is all good....but because we believe we are all common citizens living, and, yes, eventually dying, in the greatest country on earth.
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