pretty and happy girl holds a flag of the United States against the sky. July 4th Independence Day.

We survived. Thankfully, a few days ago, we weren’t destroyed by a menacing asteroid. But we never worried. We had bigger fish to fry. Oh, and what about that election? It seems it has left a lot of folks joyful, hopeful, depressed, discouraged, dismayed, angry, confident and enthused. We have become a divided nation. It has been a long, difficult slugfest, and collectively, we might need to take a timeout. This week we need to take a deep breath and find the path forward. Can we get along?

We believed. Yes, we cheered, prayed and flew flags for our candidates. People all over the country have held parties, prayer groups, lit candles, participated in marches and rallies. But, there are winners and losers. The pundits will point fingers or gloat, place blame or overanalyze, take credit or hold debriefings. But our ordinary (not to say unimportant) lives go on and we need to find that balance that helps restore our sense of community, faith and happiness. Perhaps our finest moment after an election is that we get up, go to work, take the kids to school, make dinner, hold our loved ones close and keep on doing all the things that matter. We may disagree, but we still have plenty in common with each other. 

We voted. Of course, we did! With great pride and passion, we cast our ballots, the one true measure of democracy, that gives us a right to choose. My grandson, age 19, voted for the first time. It was a thrilling experience for him, his hand almost shaking as he filled in the circles next to the candidates of choice. He solemnly went to the ballot drop box, as if his vote might be the most important one in the world. 

We spoke up! Our voice was heard. Perhaps elections are like sports. It is ecstasy to win and agony to lose.  It is rough having to watch the other team cheer, jump all over each other and hold up the trophy, while your side is left heading back to the locker room, pondering how some tactical error cost so much, ending things so quickly. Sports outcomes are based on the practice, skill, talent, courage, luck and strategy of a team that decides their own destiny. Politics is based more on the mood and will of the “fans.” We the People will determine the destiny of a candidate or a team. We can sit in the bleachers, eat a hot dog and drink a beer, watch the game and then decide who gets the prize. Our vote defines the outcome. Another reason to love this country!

We are worn out! It has been an emotional ride electing a president. We are given the incredible ability to make a difference in the form of a ballot. A right denied to many around the world. Sunday, my minister prayed that there will be “less focus on red or blue and more emphasis on the red, white and blue.” Now those are colors to celebrate. God bless America.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.