Let’s Just Be Respectful

***Guest Column***

So it finally happened. The Chicago Cubs overcame the longest drought of any American professional sports franchise. After 108 years, the Cubs are winners once again. 1908, the year the Cubs last won the World Series was the year that Henry Ford completed production on the first Model T.

No matter what happens this year, we can all point to one day where we just lived in the moment. Our local team did something that made us all enjoy life just a little bit more for at least one day. Everything else was put on the back burner, and we all sang “Go Cubs Go.”

As I write this column, we are just days from the election. Some of you may be reading this before the votes are tabulated, and some of you may see this afterward. It doesn’t matter when you are reading this, because the challenge for all of us is as simple as it is straightforward – let’s just be respectful.

Some of us are really invested in this race. As I drive around the 89th District, I see yard signs sprouting up like dandelions. It took a little longer than normal this year for signs to go up, but there’s no mistaking their presence now.

Many of you have been closely following every poll, and I’ve even seen those who fill out Electoral College maps like they are March Madness brackets. Twenty four hour news channels have the highest ratings they’ve had in ages, and viewership only skyrockets when the talking heads engage in verbal fisticuffs.

And while many are anxiously awaiting results, there are those among us who just want this whole process to be over. Some of you have told me that you don’t even watch television anymore because the commercials drive you up a wall. If you watched the World Series, you saw more than a few – or should I say more than enough.

With all the negative commercials on the airwaves, there is one commercial that I absolutely enjoy. It’s an automobile advertisement that features the song “If You Want to Sing Out.” At one point in the ad you see a split screen showing one vehicle where an owner applies an elephant bumper sticker on their vehicle, while the other side of the screen shows an owner applying a donkey bumper sticker on their vehicle.

The peppy song that says “If you want to be me, be me, and if you want to be you, be you,” is so simple that it’s simply fantastic. It’s an approach that I hope we will all take. We can respect others while still holding an opinion, and when necessary we can respectfully disagree.

The commercial ends with a tagline that coincidentally was the quote in my column a few weeks ago, “What unites us is stronger than what divides us.” In my opinion it is one of the best commercials I’ve ever seen, and it could not have come at a better time.

There’s no question that we are living through one of the most hyper-partisan and polarizing elections in our nation’s history, but something tells me that we will get through this. When all the dust has settled and when all the votes are counted, we will all still be Americans. This election won’t change that fact.

It is imperative that our discourse be civil no matter how fervent we are in our beliefs. Let’s leave the yelling and arguing to the pundits on CNN. As President John F. Kennedy said, “Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s beliefs.”

As always, you can reach me or Sally at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at repstewart@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.repbrianstewart.com or on Facebook.