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Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  Thank you, Ugliness
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Friday, November 4,2016

Thank you, Ugliness

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  

It was challenging to decide what to write about for the November edition of the Happy Herald. Gratitude is always something that comes to mind as our country honors this emotion with a national holiday this month.That is a beautiful thing. But this is also an election year, which gives November another particularly distinct trait. An ugly one. So I wondered if there was any way to find the beautiful in the ugly.


First, I’m fairly confident I speak for all of us when I say I’ll be very grateful on November 9th that the election is over. There were moments during the past few months when I honestly thought I was living in an alternate universe. But if I am, we all are, so that´s a moot point. I do believe, however, that many of us are actually living in parallel ones. Unless you actually were in another universe over the past few months, I don’t need to tell you how incredibly awful the cacophony has been. It was so loud it was really difficult to hide from. But what really astounded me was how people can hear the same information and have completely different experiences. And that is assuming we get the same information, which happens less and less.

Most of us only listen to the information that makes us the most comfortable. We guard ourselves from information we don’t want to hear or see by only following certain websites, reading certain magazines and newspapers, and watching programs that reiterate what we already feel comfortable hearing. And why not? It makes us feel valid. It makes us feel safe. Like other people "get us" and we have a community. Even this newspaper creates a nice little bubble for those of us who want to escape the bad news and feel happy. But there are also people who thrive on vitriol and anger, and there are plenty of outlets supplying that demand as well. So, I’ll be grateful when the election is over that I will be able to escape into my happy little corner of the world once again.

Here’s the bright side. Despite the negativity and ultimate lack of civility in this election, some latent issues were forced into the forefront, mostly in the form of "isms". When the yelling and crying stop, there are a lot of items on the table now that will hopefully get some thoughtful analysis and perhaps we can move forward as a society. If anything, this election reminded us that the ‘American Dream’ means different things to different people. Change is not easy. It’s uncomfortable for those who don’t want anything to change, and causes conflict among those who want different kinds of change. We will likely have to endure some more divisiveness before things settle down, but history dictates that when major cultural clashes happen in America, major social progress is eventually made. We may not agree with people, but as long as we all have the right to speak and vote, we will continue to be a beacon of hope for others in the world who live in places where their voices are not heard at all.


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