Last Monday, something extraordinary happened to me. I was in the line of a fast food drive-thru, waiting for my turn behind a white Mazda. When the driver in front of me had to pick up the food, she took longer than expected, so my impatience started boiling.
“Come on! Are you buying for the entire city?” I said to myself, trying hard not to honk the horn. Then, I mocked her political affiliation as I noticed her bumper sticker. When I finally made it to the cashier and handed her my credit card to pay she said, “The lady in front of you already paid for your order.“
I was speechless. As I saw the car drive away and get lost in traffic, I felt an indescribable feeling, a mix of surprise and shame that moved me to tears. Because I couldn’t thank her in person, I said a prayer and asked God to shower her with goodness.
Later that day, I told my husband about my gift’meal and right then he remembered it had happened to him before, but forgot to tell me. “Pay it Forward” he called it. Nevertheless, whether it is just a trendy challenge on social media, it made me reflect on life in America today.
Since June 2015, political strategists, a powerful segment of the communication professionals in the U.S., have multiplied like rabbits and become loud bullhorns in the press that have divided the population.
By using opposition research–regardless of its veracity–their objective was clear from the onset: assassinate the character of the competition to broaden the gap between the voters.
Like no other country, political campaigns in America operate under questionable methods, as if they were detectives hired by a jealous spouse suspicious of deceit. Therefore, the personal lives of the candidates become the criteria to define his or her ability to lead a constituency.
My home country Colombia is currently in the middle of a fierce presidential campaign with the polls opening on May 27th, 2018. The difference with the United States is that, while they only have three months of nasty propaganda, we Americans had to endure 18.
Today, 16 months after the 2016 presidential election, the mental and emotional exhaustion is still in the air, and Americans are as divided as water and oil inside a chemistry tube.
If only we remember that politicians are the ones who have to fight for our votes, not the voters. We can’t forget our humanity labeling people with derogatory adjectives or diminishing their intellect based on the party of their choice.
The “tolerant” talk is relentless about inclusion and equality, but it is in the respect of plural ideas where peace truly thrives. This week, an unknown woman who voted for somebody I disliked, gave me a free meal, a happy meal. And with this gesture, she taught me that generosity is a synonym for tolerance.
Thank you for reading and sharing.