Put the “United” back in States

I woke up in the bluest state in America this morning.

Washington, you see, is the new Oregon. The Beaver State has always had the edge in progressive liberalism, but we surpassed them last night. In Washington, the people spoke, and they said collectively, “let same-sex couples marry” and “make marijuana legal.” I supported both initiatives wholeheartedly, a fact that should surprise nobody as I’ve always worn my liberalism proudly on my sleeve. It’s still a bit surprising that the voters in my state so easily approved both measures. That kind of forward-thinking makes me proud to call Washington my home.

Of course, not everybody feels that way. As happy as I am with the results of the election, a lot of my friends feel otherwise. It appears I’m going to be seeing a lot of Facebook posts in Spanish and German and French since so many of my friends have declared they are moving out of the country. Sour grapes much? Alec Baldwin made similar statements in 2000, threatening to leave if Bush was elected, and I ridiculed that at the time, even though we share the same political spectrum. It’s just such a knee-jerk and ridiculously juvenile comment to make, and speaks volumes about the divide this country faces. There has been a lot of talk about tempers flaring over Facebook, and without a doubt this election was eye-opening, providing a glimpse into the true natures of a lot of people. Even this morning I am seeing the worst in people I’d previously admired. I tried to step in and diffuse one such post, writing to somebody who was predicting doom and gloom, Come on…can’t you at least try to think positive? How can America get better if people aren’t willing to put aside their differences and work together? The response was sadly typical and emotionally-driven, with talk of socialized medicine and being taken over by the Chinese.


Look, I had to put up with eight miserable years under Bush. I was not a happy camper then, but I survived. I certainly don’t hide the fact that I’m a Democrat, but I try not to let my emotions get the better of me. I did not gloat last night, even as my friends were whining about socialism and God and taxes. It’s unbecoming. I can’t say that they were all so negative, however. A close family friend named Mike – a person I have known my entire life – is a staunch Republican living in Texas, and yet after the results were announced, he was the lone voice of reason amongst my conservative friends. He congratulated Tara and I, and talked about how we are all Americans who should be working together. In response to some negative comments, he wrote, Tomorrow we can all wake up with the same goal, to succeed for ourselves and our children. Stay focused people, we are in this together no matter what side we pledge. You dems are my great friends. Although my party lost,i still love you guys.  In doing so, he won over a lot of my friends last night. Love your classiness, Mike. You’re like the Chris Christie of my friends. It is attitudes like those that give me hope for America, and make me believe that it is possible to work together and make a difference.

This man is my President and yours. Let’s support him.

My own mother said this morning, “There sure are a lot of idiots in America.” I guess that makes her first-born son an idiot. And that is why we never discuss politics. We’re like Family Ties in reverse; I’m a liberal, peace-loving Alex P. Keaton to a conservative Steve and Elise. Only I’ve never allowed a kangaroo in the house.

Because the election brought out the worst in people, I’m glad it’s over, though I fear I can never view some of them the same way again – and that’s pretty sad. I hope they can admit four years from now that things weren’t as bad as they feared, and I hope that I am every bit as proud of my vote then as I am this morning.

To those bemoaning the results and predicting the end of the world, lighten up, already. Listen to people like Mike. Let’s work TOGETHER and make this country great again. A little optimism and a willingness to compromise will go a long way toward making a positive change.

I do hope that in the next four years, Donald Trump’s hair swallows him whole and we never have to hear from him again. Talk about a wacko. I’ll never watch another episode of The Apprentice again.

I hope the Republican Party realizes their anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-minority rhetoric no longer flies in this era of tolerance and acceptance. Soften your tone and maybe you’ll win back your constituents.

I hope that President Obama has a productive four years in office and makes believers out of those who doubt him.

Most of all, I hope our country finds a way to put the “United” back in States.



Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

26 thoughts on “Put the “United” back in States

  1. At my blog and on FB, I’m staying clear entirely, because most of my friends are passionate conservatives and I don’t have a confrontational bone in my body. When I read this, I was struck by how – all day – I’ve been thinking pretty much the same thing as you, when you say “I hope that President Obama has a productive four years in office and makes believers out of those who doubt him.”


  2. I made a similar (albeit much shorter) post on FB a couple of days before the election. As the President said last night, and you say here, we are one country. We need to learn to behave that way.


    1. This storm of hurt feelings was as easy to predict as Hurricane Sandy – good for you for taking preventive measures. I have other friends who hid their political rivals from their newsfeeds in the weeks leading up to the election. That’s another way to keep sane, I suppose!


  3. I felt like a kid last night, staying up until 2am to watch all the poll results and hear all the candidates speeches. I was incredibly impressed with the majority of candidates in their victory and concession speeches. Most were gracious and respectful towards their counterparts and all the voters and volunteers. I was glad to see that. Fox News of course ticked me off a bit, but then I switched back to CNN and/or the local news coverage and regained composure.

    Favorite line of Romney’s concession speech was the line about how his wife would have made a great first lady. That’s a lovely sentiment to share with the public and shows he is proud of her and the support and time she gave to the campaign. It was definitely an emotional moment for his whole family.

    Obama’s victory speech was great. It was the kind of speech that got me fired up and reminded me of where I was 4 years ago listening to his victory speech. I hope he keeps his momentum going with the initiatives he discussed and hope America remembers we’re the United States, like he asked. This was a close race, and a great voter turnout. I’m thrilled with that because it means people care!

    Here’s looking forward to the next 4 years! (And just a quick shout out to the now majority Democratic Senate in Wisconsin! I’m so thrilled for Senate Winner Tammy Baldwin who became the first female and openly gay Senator from Wisconsin! She had to overcome some truly hateful slander campaigns and her speech was so respectful toward her opponent. Way to go, Tammy!)


    1. Yes, even Mitt Romney this morning is telling his supporters to calm the heck down. That says a lot! It’s nice to see a little graciousness in the post-election fallout. We also switched to Fox News after the race was called – out of morbid curiosity – but I couldn’t stomach that for more than 10 minutes.

      I’m also very happy for Tammy Baldwin’s victory. That’s a huge step forward – good job, Wisconsin! Be proud, Jess.


  4. “I hope that President Obama has a productive four years in office and makes believers out of those who doubt him.

    Most of all, I hope our country finds a way to put the “United” back in States.”


    My brother and I have opposing views also, but we can talk about them calmly without bashing each other.


    1. It’s actually Washington, Kathryn – but both states are so damn liberal I’m sure it’s only a matter of time when both gay marriage and legalized marijuana initiatives are passed in Oregon, too!


  5. I saw an interesting post today on FB where someone was encouraging Rush Limbaugh to hurry up if he is moving to Canada as he threatened if Obama won. What they failed to take into account was – we don’t want him either! Another one was a lady threatening to move to Australia because at least their president was a christian & “he” was something else. Too bad this person didn’t know what they were talking about because the Australian Prime Minister is a woman & is very strict on immigration.


  6. I had many relatives claim they were moving to other countries as well. To which I bit my lip from saying “You’re running from a place because of Health Care issues to a Country that already HAS it? Really?”
    I think they are still in line at the boarder because I have not seen 1 FB status since Tuesday morning. lol


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