From the Farm:
MOVING ON AFTER ELECTIONS, IN LAS VEGAS AND IN LIFE
Published in the Casper Journal November 10, 2010
The elections are over, and although I wasn’t thrilled with every single outcome, I am grateful for the democratic process.
Last April, I interviewed First Lady Nancy Freudenthal. She mentioned that one particular benefit of living in Wyoming is the opportunity to be involved politically. With such a small population, every single Wyoming resident can have a direct influence on city, county and state elections. I agree. It’s been wonderful living here this election period, where we had the opportunity to personally meet candidates and be involved in their campaigns.
Even my children caught the political fever. “There’s another Matt Mead sign!” my three-year-old would often shout as we traveled down the road. “Are you voting for Cindy Hill or Mike Massie?” my other daughter questioned. We have all enjoyed the political “small town feel” of Wyoming. However, even though we are now registered to vote in Natrona County, some of our political heart strings were still drawn back to Nevada, and we kept close tabs on several elections there.
It just so happened that we traveled to Las Vegas the week before the election to attend the funeral of a close friend. We were gathered with the family in a small room for the viewing. Imagine our surprise when Senator Harry Reid and his wife walked through the door. At first, I did a double-take. (It’s hard to place someone when you’ve only seen him on the news.) But after half-a-second, I realized who he was. The four security personnel, stationed at both doors of the room, complete with ear pieces and stern looks, caught all of our attention. Senator Reid and his wife, both in dressy, black outfits, were gracious and empathetic to the family, who had been previous neighbors of theirs.
After visiting with them, the Reids then took time to personally greet most of us in the room. Although I rarely (um…never) agree with Harry Reid’s political decisions, I must admit that I was impressed with his demeanor, genuine caring, and kindness. He and his wife knew several of our close friends, and it was nice to see them interact and greet each other.
A few minutes later, we went out to the parking lot to meet our babysitter who was picking up our youngest children. Senator Reid’s vehicle was parked right next to ours, along with several other huge, black cars in his entourage. Just then, our babysitter pulled up and stopped just in front of Senator Reid, blocking his exit. She left her car idling while we loaded several babies, baby car seats, diaper bags, bottles and snacks into her car. The Reids sat graciously in their vehicle, waiting for us to finish so that they could leave. (Their driver, with a bit of a scowl on his face, may not have been as patient, but he didn’t say a word; nor did the other security personnel, positioned at strategic positions inside and outside of the building.) I was grateful for their understanding.
Later, while telling my friend—a staunch Reid opponent—about the experience, she asked, “Did Senator Reid look evil?” “No,” I said. “He struck me as a very good person, who sincerely believes in what he does.” Another friend—a staunch Reid supporter—asked if the senator looked tired and worn out from his campaigning. “No,” I replied. “He seemed energetic and happy.”
We have good friends in Las Vegas on both sides of the aisle. Watching the Nevada election results come in Tuesday night was exciting, even from Wyoming. We made a few phone calls and kept tabs throughout the evening with several friends volunteering at different polling locations. When all was said and done, some were happy with the outcome, and some were disappointed. I was initially disappointed.
However, after meeting Senator Reid and his wife in person, I must say that I have a better opinion of him. He’s a person, just like me. He loves Nevada, just like me. He loves America, just like me. And, he believes in what he does, just like me. At least we have those things in common.
And, whichever side we voted on, the real victory for the United States is the endurance of the democratic process. On the Wednesday morning after the elections when America woke up again, we all went back to our jobs, our homes, our businesses, our lives. Those who lost didn’t take it out on those who had won. We just moved on.
In the end, only one person can win—despite the campaigning, despite the money spent, despite the speeches and the promises. And somehow, we all accept that.
In fact, “moving on” is a principle I’d like to teach my children. If someone loses or doesn’t get their way, there’s no need to throw a temper tantrum. No need to fight or argue any longer, just go back to your own toys, your own interests, your own life. Isn’t it a miracle that in today’s world an entire nation can do that? Americans in every town, in every city, in every state can accept the election results and move on.
No matter who is “in” or “out” of Washington, let’s keep one thing at Status quo: the democratic process. Even Harry Reid and I can agree on that.