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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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United we stand

By Aaron Zundel

The 2006 midterm elections are over. That means no more phone calls with prerecorded candidates on the other end, no more slimy television ads peddling half-truths and scare tactics and no more billboards with snazzy, insincere catch phrases. It also means that at least one of the candidates you were backing lost his or her race.

Inevitably, when a candidate loses a race, his or her constituents are left upset and unhappy with the results. Indeed, when John Kerry lost the 2004 presidential election, some of his supporters reported spiraling into depressions so severe they had to consult psychotherapists. But in a country as divided as ours in the days and months following the elections, it’s important to remember that we are all still citizens of the same nation.

Historically, for those who don’t vote and then turn around and gripe when the country looks like it’s going to pieces, the standard response to their screeching goes something like, “If you didn’t take the opportunity to vote, then you don’t have any room to complain.”

It’s a true statement.

However, while those who did vote have earned the right to riot when things don’t go their way, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they should. As a nation, we should remember that those elected were elected by the majority. Respectful disagreement with your newly elected representative’s positions is OK and, in fact, encouraged. But the key word there is “respectful.”

While it seems strong, the social fabric can unravel overnight–persistent coups in Thailand, the collapse of the USSR in 1989 and the fascist overthrow of the Iranian Shah and government in 1979, have all shown as much. Democracy is a fragile thing, and in America we’ve been fortunate enough to maintain at least some sort of social and political order for the better part of 200 years. Just look around the world, though, and one can see that other countries, even ones that claim to be “democracies,” have not been so successful. From the ever-rotating and dissolving “People’s Republic” of Western Africa to the sham politics and elections of Eastern Europe, much of the reason democracies fail is that the people don’t support them.

Despite our disagreements, it remains important that we stand together and support our elected officials. With the exception of a few bad apples (Mark Foley, William Jefferson), the men and women who run for political office truly want to make a positive impact in our cities, counties and states. When we demonize them because we happen to disagree with them, not only do we do them a disservice as our representatives, but we do ourselves a disservice, too. The healthy operation of our country depends on the support of the populace, and the more time we spend fighting each other, the less time we can spend getting something done.

Even if you don’t agree with your new representatives’ positions, give them the opportunity to prove you wrong. If they blow it, you can always vote them out in 2010.

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