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Bert at the Han


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Election, 2012: It's Not the Issues That Drive Us

"Why do you expect the Democrats and Republicans to work together? We HATE each other!"

This statement to my friend horrified me. Horrified me because I made it, and had never before realized I might actually believe it. What if it were actually true?

I inherited a political party from my parents, reversed it after Korea, and reversed it again after MIT. While working and raising a family I lost all interest in politics. Until now, I always thought of the other side as mostly loyal Americans who just had different opinions on some issues. The thought that many other Americans might actually hate what I fought for, hate what I stand for, and possibly even hate all Americans who think like me ... had never actually crossed my mind. I know this isn't true on an individual basis because I have friends and acquaintances with every political view who seem to like and respect me just as I do them. But is this possibly becoming true in national politics?

I didn't watch the media news, or its election results as they came in. Instead, I studied the antics of attendees at Acceptance and Concession rallies, and endured the national discussion panels. It was like watching strangers dance on my grave.

It was after this that I told my friend "we HATE each other."

While raising my family, I had developed the habit of voting for the handful of candidates of either party who seemed to be giving an honest, competent and objective effort. Then, excepting a few where I might have serious personal concerns, I voted for the party not in power. Where excellence hadn't been proven, it seemed reasonable to give someone else a chance. I've always known some people automatically dislike me because of my race, or religion, or personality, or branch of service, or for serving at all. There are always some people who won't give other people a fair chance, for some reason or other. That's okay with me, I know who I am. I'm happy to live and let live.

But, I don't like my reaction to this last election. For the good of us all, I hope our politicians somehow learn to respect the interests and beliefs of those whom their opponents represent, if not their opponents themselves.

Bert Kortegaard

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