I live in a place I might not easily fit into if I were to freely expressive my political leanings. So mostly I don’t.
Some election cycles I am more obvious in my support, but this year we were redistricted, and we lost the Congressional Representative for whom we had actively campaigned. She moved on to the newly formed District 7 that encompassed most of her previous district, but doesn’t include us.
I feel sad that we need to start over educating a new Representative. I don’t have huge hopes that she will listen to our issues, but I recognize that I’m making an assumption, and that makes me just like everyone else who jumps to political conclusions without research or data.
So, in the New Year, I will make an appointment to meet with her staff and introduce myself and the Truck Safety Coalition. I’m pretty sure she has not heard of us; I’ll do my best to give a good first impression.
But what bothers me the most during this Veterans Day weekend is that though our veterans fought to keep us free to speak about ideas important to us, it no longer feels safe to talk about issues at all. They didn’t fight so that only Republicans or only Democrats could express their views, yet where I live, and where many of us live, it feels unsafe to be different.
We used to be able to discuss our differences without being called unpatriotic. Without being accused of not supporting the Constitution. I’m certain most people in this country support the Constitution, regardless of political affiliation. I don’t think being patriotic is a trait found only in one party or the other.
I bet there are households on both sides of the aisle who proudly flew our flag in my neighborhood this week, who love our country unconditionally. Who have served to keep it free.
And I’m pretty sure there are both Democrats and Republicans and even some Independents buried in our National Cemeteries. They sacrificed so we could all speak.
It’s about time we all learned how to listen too.