Friday, September 19, 2008

Crescenta Valley Sun:Around Town: Red State Blue State

Published Friday, September 12, 2008 11:47 AM PDT
Around town/Red state, blue state

By Anita S. Brenner

Our family is a cross cultural American family. Different religions. Different political parties. But we all love one another.

A few years ago, we acquired a red, white and blue toy donkey, and a red, white and blue toy elephant. Depending on our moods, they are posed, with the donkey sitting on the elephant or the elephant kicking the donkey.

Our country is also cross cultural. That’s why both John McCain and Barack Obama have disowned the negative personal attacks on the candidates and their families.

We should follow their advice.

Why? Because of the social contract. That invisible handshake which is the glue that holds our communities together.

In less than two months, on the first Wednesday in November, each of us will be left with the effects of our actions today.

It does not build community to focus on gossip.

It does not set a good example for our children.

It is unhealthy on a personal level and divisive as a method of political discourse.

The same media that brought you Paris Hilton’s pre- and post-incarceration interviews now bashes Sarah Pallin’s daughter and Barack Obama’s wife.

Not good.

Seven years ago yesterday, events forced each of us to recognize that we are, first and foremost, Americans. We are part of a community. A country.

Our primary loyalty should be to our country; therefore, let’s reject the lowest common denominator regarding political reporting.

Hard-fought, close presidential elections are nothing new. Our country survived. Gore-Bush in 2002, Tilden-Hayes in 1876, Hancock-Garfield in 1880 and Blaine-Cleveland in 1884.

The presidential election of 1884 was noteworthy for another reason — the number and genders of the candidates.

In 1884, the Democratic party nominated New York Governor Grover Cleveland. The Republicans nominated Speaker of the House and Congressman, James G. Blaine of Maine. The Greenback Party nominated Benjamin Franklin Butler. The Prohibition Party nominated John St. John. But the Equal Rights Party took the historical spotlight.

In 1884, the Equal Rights Party nominated Belva Lockwood, a woman and an attorney from Washington D.C.

Lockwood could not vote because she was a woman. She said, "I cannot vote but I can be voted for."

Our country has survived many close elections. It also survived 9/11. The founders of this nation designed an electoral system that allows our country to survive. It’s not perfect but it works. Their decisions are our inheritance.

Let’s not squander our inheritance on idiotic remarks about hair and prenatal care. Let’s not play the race card or the gender card.

In 54 days, we the people will decide the election. How will we feel on the 55th day?

It is up to us.

ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a La CaƱada resident and a trial attorney in private practice in Pasadena.

Crescenta Valley Sun: La Crescenta, California September 12, 2008

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