Each month, as I sit down to write my “From Where I Sit” column, I often struggle to figure out what I want to write about. One of the challenges is that since JLife SGPV is a monthly magazine, I am not able to address “current events” in real-time. There are usually two to four weeks between the time I write my column, and the time the magazine gets published, and sometimes the issue I address might sound “outdated”. However, for this column, I am going to share my thoughts on what we need to do after the election, which I have a feeling we will still be dealing with when you read this.
I remember not too long ago that a presidential election cycle started about 18 months before an election. To me, it seems that the 2020 election process began midway through 2017, or possibly even earlier. Irrespective of the results, which may still be unknown as you are reading this column, I feel mental fatigue from all of the election coverage—both from the start of the campaign right through the election.
I encourage all of us to take a moment, take a step back from what we are doing and thinking, and breathe. Take a deep breath in, hold it and let it out slowly. Please do this three more times. This little exercise will help provide us with a chance to not only catch our breath but to begin to release nervous energy that we have kept inside for a very long, long time.
As we wait to see how the results play out, there are two things we know for sure. First, there will be a huge feeling of relief that the election is over, and second, some people will be excited by the results, and others will be upset and troubled by them.
It is important to remember that this is nothing new… it happens after any decision is made… someone feels like the winner and someone else feels like the loser. How we respond to the results IS important and shows a lot about not only our personal character but also the character of our nation.
When Michael Josephson used to do his long-running commentary on KNX, he would always end each commentary with “This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.” As one of the leading voices on character, Josephson defines character as ethics in action. Character is the outward expression and display of who we are as a people. This includes how we celebrate our “victories.”
Please understand that I do think it is okay to celebrate and be excited if your candidate(s) wins. However, it is important how we choose to celebrate and react to the “other side.” Will you rub their noses in their defeat, or will you take the time to understand why they are so concerned by the results, even if you think their concerns are irrational? This shows our real character… it is called being a gracious and empathetic winner.
While the actual election will be over once the final ballots are counted, however long that will take, the ramifications of the results will leave a lasting imprint on our nation. It is imperative that each of us understand that we have a role in helping to bring our country back together. This starts with how we interact and truly listen to one another, especially those who have different opinions than our own. After all, how can we say we live in the United States of America if we remain divided?
Jason Moss is Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys.