Holy Sit: HineSight: I’m Grateful for Politicians. Yes, ALL of Them!

HineSight: I’m Grateful for Politicians. Yes, ALL of Them!

As I was thinking about what I wanted to write for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday this year, I realized that after a heated election year, I wanted to express gratitude to all of the politicians. Yes, ALL of them.

You see I grew up as the youngest of six children and when I was old enough to make my own school lunch, my mother became a politician. First, she joined the City Council and then became the mayor of my small hometown of Des Moines, Washington. Next, she ran for State Representative and while she didn’t win the first campaign, she won subsequent campaigns and served in that role for twelve years. Next she became the Chief of Staff for the governor of Washington State. After retiring for a few months, she was selected by the governor to chair the Public Stadium Authority, a board representing the public investment in a public/private partnership responsible for building a professional football stadium in Seattle.

I don't tell you this to brag about my mother’s 40 years in politics, although she is an extraordinary woman of whom I’m very proud. I tell you all of this because I was a close witness to what it takes to be a politician and I have nothing but admiration and awe for anyone who runs for public office.

First of all, one has to have the education, confidence and courage to serve in roles that are often criticized and even harassed. One's personal life, one's family life and one's free time are suddenly fair game in the public domain. Mayor Hine also had a family of eight that she cared for at home. State Representative Hine was not only helping her five daughters and son with their English homework and prom preparations, as the Caucus Chair of the House, she was forging the way for other women in politics in the State of Washington. You may be wondering if my family is Democrat or Republican. Who cares? In all of her political positions, Hine was taking phone calls at home from both political parties compassionately listening and formulating educated responses that she believed would best meet the needs of the people.

All politicians are members of someone's family. They are delicately balancing a highly scrutinized public life with a not-so-private, private life. A mother is carefully considering the impact on her children before deciding to run for public office. A father must comfort his daughter when the kids at school tease her about his face on the front page of the local paper next to an unflattering article. The public is voicing their opinions in ways that border on verbal violence. When I hear that kind of abuse, on behalf of all of their children, I want to say, “Don’t talk about my mother (father) that way!”

It takes guts to go to work every day knowing that sometimes 50% of the population will not agree with you. It takes guts and courage to take on the role of civil servant especially when you know you would likely get more pay, more bonuses, more anniversary clocks and accolades if you chose to work in the private sector. It takes guts to allow your life and your family to be put under a giant magnifying glass just so that you can serve the people the best way you know how. It takes guts to run for office, to walk door-to-door, and spend your own savings to run a campaign that you might not win.

Over the last decades, we have elected several Presidents of the United States whose leadership style and policies did not meet my expectations. But a friend reminded me that any leader is simply a mirror of their community or their country. So if I didn't like what I saw, my job was to change what I did have control over, which of course, is me. We are all members of the same system and if one cog in the system transforms for the better, the whole system can’t help but evolve for the greater good. On this year’s U.S. election day, fatigued by the political negativity on social media, I posted a quote on the Holy Sit Facebook page. It was the most popular and re-shared sentiment of anything I’ve posted. It was this quote by the Dalai Lama:

“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.”

We don’t have to agree with the policies, the strategies, actions or even the words, but we can stay resolute in our own desire for inner peace and simply appreciate the human beings that run for or serve in public office. I don't care if a politician is running for City Council or the President of our privileged country; it takes more courage, collaboration skills and tenacity than most jobs many of us have ever known.

Now that we are through another heated political season, I want to take a moment to express deep gratitude to all politicians of all party lines. I know that behind each opinion, view and public win or loss is a human being who is also a mother, a father, a son, or a daughter - someone who is deeply loved by other human beings. Call me Pollyanna, but this is why I don't wish ill will on any political leader regardless of their beliefs. These individuals are simply doing the best that they can with what they were brought up believing. Their views may differ from what I believe, and their political discourse might bubble up anger or even outrage inside of me. But, they still had the courage to run for public office and put their life on hold to serve the people. For that they are noble. And the day that I get so angry that I dehumanize them or verbally assault their image on the Television is the day I need to look inside myself, turn down the TV volume and turn up my tolerance levels. It's also the day that I need to consider putting myself on the line to run for public office. Personally, I think working on my own tolerance and compassion levels is a lot less work.

In closing, as those of us in the United States sit down to our Thanksgiving meals and prepare to express gratitude for the things that are working in our lives, please consider giving gratitude for ALL of the political officials who make this country run. Odds are high that the politician with whom you are having the greatest difficulty is, in this moment, stirring the gravy for the mashed potatoes that will feed his/her sweet grandchildren on this day of thanks.

Wishing you a peaceful holiday.

Emily Hine

Proud Daughter of a Courageous Politician

Note: This Holy Sit blog is one in a series of blog posts that tell the story of my journey healing from cancer without surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. In the process, I also write "HineSights" about spiritual awakening and finding inner peace in a chaotic world. If you want to read more, check out the chapter titles on the Holy Sit home page & start with this one. Cheers to your health & well-being!