Friday, July 25, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

The rural life: Thoughts the morning after

By
From page A4 | November 12, 2012 |

Last Wednesday, on the day after the election, though my guy had won I didn’t feel like doing the naked happy dance. The anguish of voters on the other side of the divide was too palpable. What I wished more than anything, and still wish, is for a way to reach out that resonates with those who are dismayed by the outcome of the election.

I’d want to reassure you, as ridiculous as it sounds, that everything is going to be OK. I’d say that, despite your doubts, America is still America, still operating the way the framers of the Constitution intended, still choosing her presidents by a vote of the citizens, still motoring resolutely into the future.

With this election, if not before, you’ve likely noticed that our demographics are changing. This may seem alarming, but it shouldn’t. From its beginning, our country has allowed people who believe in the American spirit and the American way to come and build their lives here, to become Americans. The newly apparent fact that not everyone in America is white and descended from the Mayflower is not something to be feared or overcome. It’s a reality to be embraced and worked with and, ultimately, celebrated.

It’s a good thing.

I remember vividly the first time I volunteered to help at a speech-and-debate tournament held at my daughter’s high school, Ponderosa. That was my school, too, back in the day. At that time, in the late 1960s, pretty much all the students were white. More recently, the campus has a few more kids of color. On this morning in 2010, however, when students had come from all around the Sacramento area to compete at the tournament, I was astonished to see how varied were the faces: black, brown, yellow, and white, in seemingly equal measure.

At first it felt a little strange. It was certainly different! But then I noticed how the kids themselves were dealing with it. They weren’t. They were oblivious to each other’s color and ethnicity. All that mattered were the rhetorical skills of anyone in question, and whether they might trump one’s own.

The insight I gained that day — that we’re all just people, really and truly — has stayed with me, in a reassuring way that I wish I could share with you.

I also wish I could reassure you that our country’s love of individualism is still alive and well, even after the election. It’s tempered as it has been throughout our history by a corresponding value, our devotion to community. Individualism and communitarianism, in a push-and-pull balance. You may worry, based on punditry, that individualism in this country is somehow now diminished, but it’s not, actually. Far from it. (E.J. Dionne explains all this brilliantly in his new book, Our Divided Political Hearts: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent. I highly recommend it.

What it means in practice is that all of us, each of us, can still work hard to earn as much money as we want, in some cases becoming multimillionaires or more in the process. But all of us also still have a vested interest in enabling every other American to have a fair shot of supporting themselves, at the least, and ideally to thrive. We don’t accept that the poor will always be with us, and assign the bulk of responsibility for the poor to charities (no matter how well-meaning). We use the power of us — the government — to provide opportunities that can enable the poor, with work and persistence, to someday move into the middle class, to become not-poor. We understand that this process takes time, often even generations, and that we’ll have to carry some freeloaders along the way. That’s OK. The ultimate goal of an America firing on all cylinders is worth it.

In his acceptance speech, the president said that “while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.” More than anything in this post-election period, I wish everyone on all sides could realize the truth of this sentiment, and allow it to ease their doubts and fears.

Challenges lie ahead. My side, like yours, is worried about the federal deficit and our national debt, and we’re ready to face painful cuts in order to pare them down. We’re with you on that, 100 percent. But it will also take compromise on everyone’s part, and a willingness to be fair. I know in my heart you understand that, because that’s what Americans are at their core, always, in the final analysis: fair.

Gov. Romney was eloquent in his concession speech.

“At a time like this,” he said, “we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.”

I agree with Gov. Romney and I believe that we will find a way to rise to the occasion. And I sincerely hope you do, too.

Jennifer Forsberg Meyer is a biweekly columnist with the Mountain Democrat. Share your thoughts with her at jfmfeedback@earthlink.net.

Comments

comments

Jennifer Forsberg Meyer

Jennifer Forsberg Meyer is an award-winning journalist and author with three published books to her credit. Currently she is a senior editor with Horse & Rider magazine. Jennifer lives in rural Latrobe with her husband, Hank; their daughter, Sophie Elene; and the family’s assorted animals.
.

News

District 2: Candidates debate jobs versus lifestyle

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Accident: 1 bullet hits 2

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
 
Scaffolding issue makes for contentious meeting

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Help available for breastfeeding mothers

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A3

 
El Dorado County School Board vacancy

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: A8

 
.

Opinion

The weekly Daley: A good time to be there…

By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

 
Something to think about: More than what you see

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A4

Popular science

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Watch whom you’re calling ‘conservative’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Fake ‘small farms’ steal from residential EID customers

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

People of Placerville

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Computer scam phone calls

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Support of Director Prada

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Uphold the Third Amendment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Bureaucracy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Imagination Theater’s play

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

.

Sports

Quarter century later, Rypien wins ACCG again

By Andrew Hazard | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Outside with Charlie: Paddle time

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Midget Lites join tomorrow’s action

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A6

 
El Dorado rallies for last-inning victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6

Sports Scene: July 24, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Rush sit a win from Series

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A7

Tasmanian Devils go undefeated

By Patty Pope | From Page: A7

 
.

Prospecting

El Dorado wines win in Amador

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B1

 
Suds entice the taste buds

By Krysten Kellum | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Things to do: July 25, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

 
Rhythm and Views goes bluesy

By | From Page: B3

Have an Hawaiian vacation at Carson Road wineries

By Carson Road Winery Asociation | From Page: B3Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Summer fun is happening in Twain Harte

By Fire On | From Page: B4Comments are off for this post

Manzanita doubles the music

By Table Nectar And Manzanita | From Page: B5

 
Recording artist at Busby Cellars

By News Release | From Page: B6

Hands4Hope hosts school supply drive

By News Release | From Page: B6

 
Supergroup plays Harris Center

By Carrera Productions | From Page: B6

Artists invited to go western

By Art On The Divide | From Page: B7

 
Visit Tahoe artists during tour

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B7

Reggae on the River celebrates 30 years

By Reggae On | From Page: B7Comments are off for this post

 
.

Essentials

Building permits 7/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Lake levels 7-24-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Crime Log: July 11-13

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

 
Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

.

Comics

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A9

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Horoscope, Saturday, July 26, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Friday, July 25, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Sunday, July 27, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
.

Home Source

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4