By Paula L. Ratliff, BSC, MS
Criminologist and Author
Jobe Publishing Contributor
I’m hoping we have a winner on Election Day, although several states may delay final numbers for several days due to absentee ballots. If indeed that happens, we will just “caulk it up” to one more bizarre occurrence in a year full of unprecedented events. After all, we couldn’t expect to have a “normal” election, now could we?
I know that regardless of who wins the election, on November 4th, I along with millions of people in this country, will get up and go to work as we always do. We can’t stay home to celebrate and we can’t stay home to mourn. Life goes on and I will follow the teachings of the Bible when it says, “Honor the King” (I Peter 2:17) and I will show respect to whoever is in office and pledge to my part to help restore order, unity and prosperity to our country.
However, this isn’t what many major cities are expecting as they are boarding up their businesses in fear of rioting and looting after the election. Apparently, there is a large segment of our society that believes violence is an acceptable expression that will result in change. I believe this is one of the largest mis-truths being propagated in the media today.
Local political leaders should be stepping up and putting mandatory curfews into place, and activating the National Guard to quell this behavior before it starts. No one should live in fear for his/her safety.
Regardless of who wins, I believe both sides will feel the other side cheated. The Democrats keep asking about a smooth transition of power and President Trump has responded that it depends on the legitimacy of the election. Hillary Clinton advised former Vice President Joe Biden not to concede if the outcome if not favorable. She urged him to keep fighting…to keep resisting. This certainly doesn’t point toward an effort to unify the country.
One thing is clear, “Whoever wins the 2020 election has a monumental task to build consensus in our torn and fragmented world.” Both sides have been fed a steady diet of fake news delivered by the elites controlling the microphones and refusing to present the facts. Elites who believe their opinions matter and that we the listeners should believe and accept their summaries. Elites who believe they are justified in labeling others and smearing peoples’ character while telling us what to think and how we should feel.
If we are ever going to unite the country, the media must return to reporting facts, and present a balanced approach on all issues. Social Media, 24-7 news outlets and Daily Press Conferences make the president totally accessible and unfortunately that is often used in an unfavorable way giving the media hours and days to make up, re-create and fabricate complete lies to repeat over and over again. Can the media be respected again? Can the media be trusted again? Maybe that should be a goal of the next administration, “Making the Media Truthful Again” or “Holding the Media Accountable Again.”
Perhaps we need to reduce the President’s accessibility to the press? However, if the President steps back from view, the media will create whatever wild stories they wish to create and sadly, that will become reality for many who watch. I predict the tweets will continue regardless of who wins.
How do we unite the country on race? Who needs to be at the table to discuss race relations and who can effectively communicate with the masses on the facts? Who can communicate with the rioters and looters who are reacting every time there is an incident involving police use of force? Who will support law and order while condemning violence and looting? Can the President, the Speaker of the House or Senate accomplish this? Who will listen and who will speak?
Politicians must unite and work together for the good of the United States and quit fighting along party lines. We need leaders who will submit good ideals and work toward accomplishing them and quit the theatrics and posturing for the media.
Our schools must unite and teach patriotism, citizenship and basic respect for each other. We must teach history: the good, the bad and the ugly and we must devote our lives to doing better and moving forward. We are not defined by our past, but by the decisions we make moving forward. Every day we must decide to make this day better than the day before.
Our families must unite and teach effective communication skills and anger management techniques. We must teach our children to avoid violence and to resolve conflict in a peaceful manner, to withhold actions out of anger and fear until the truth is clearly presented. We must teach our children to have respect for each other. We must teach them that resistance is a tool and not a lifestyle.
Our churches must unite and engage in community conversations helping to fill in the gaps where the schools, families and social services have failed. They must reach out to be a beacon of light and a solid foundation for people that are struggling.
We must learn to be courteous again, listening and being respectful of each other, while agreeing to disagree. We must commit to seeking righteousness and truth.
We must focus on the positive and seek to make a difference in the areas of our passions. If we are passionate about justice, the environment, healthcare, or whatever topic, we should begin to learn everything we can on the topic. Then begin to seek ways to make improvements whether on a local, state or national level. Every person can make a difference, it’s up to you rather large or small.
We must exhibit and demand a strong work ethic. “Participation trophies” are not part of the real world. You have to get up, show up and work hard every day if you wish to accomplish your dreams.
We must unite and require success. Anything less is failure.