Lets Just Be Respectful

***Guest Column***

So it finally happened. The Chicago Cubs overcame the longest drought of any American professional sports franchise. After 108 years, the Cubs are winners once again. 1908, the year the Cubs last won the World Series was the year that Henry Ford completed production on the first Model T.

No matter what happens this year, we can all point to one day where we just lived in the moment. Our local team did something that made us all enjoy life just a little bit more for at least one day. Everything else was put on the back burner, and we all sang Go Cubs Go.

As I write this column, we are just days from the election. Some of you may be reading this before the votes are tabulated, and some of you may see this afterward. It doesnt matter when you are reading this, because the challenge for all of us is as simple as it is straightforward lets just be respectful.

Some of us are really invested in this race. As I drive around the 89th District, I see yard signs sprouting up like dandelions. It took a little longer than normal this year for signs to go up, but theres no mistaking their presence now.

Many of you have been closely following every poll, and Ive even seen those who fill out Electoral College maps like they are March Madness brackets. Twenty four hour news channels have the highest ratings theyve had in ages, and viewership only skyrockets when the talking heads engage in verbal fisticuffs.

And while many are anxiously awaiting results, there are those among us who just want this whole process to be over. Some of you have told me that you dont even watch television anymore because the commercials drive you up a wall. If you watched the World Series, you saw more than a few or should I say more than enough.

With all the negative commercials on the airwaves, there is one commercial that I absolutely enjoy. Its an automobile advertisement that features the song If You Want to Sing Out. At one point in the ad you see a split screen showing one vehicle where an owner applies an elephant bumper sticker on their vehicle, while the other side of the screen shows an owner applying a donkey bumper sticker on their vehicle.

The peppy song that says If you want to be me, be me, and if you want to be you, be you, is so simple that its simply fantastic. Its an approach that I hope we will all take. We can respect others while still holding an opinion, and when necessary we can respectfully disagree.

The commercial ends with a tagline that coincidentally was the quote in my column a few weeks ago, What unites us is stronger than what divides us. In my opinion it is one of the best commercials Ive ever seen, and it could not have come at a better time.

Theres no question that we are living through one of the most hyper-partisan and polarizing elections in our nations history, but something tells me that we will get through this. When all the dust has settled and when all the votes are counted, we will all still be Americans. This election wont change that fact.

It is imperative that our discourse be civil no matter how fervent we are in our beliefs. Lets leave the yelling and arguing to the pundits on CNN. As President John F. Kennedy said, Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to ones beliefs.

As always, you can reach me or Sally at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at repstewart@gmail.com. You can also visit my website at www.repbrianstewart.com or on Facebook.

Brian Stewart

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