We Americans Who Are All Immigrants to Our Country Created the Fabric Of Our Society, Wear or Carry or Wave the Red, White, and Blue, So How Can we Show Our Loyalty To America?

The presidential election vote is in and shows that we are clearly divided as a nation.  President-Elect Biden’s priority is for our country to take control of the coronavirus, COVID-19, to be able to safely open our economy and our schools.  With President Trump contesting the results of the election, nearly fifty percent of our country seemingly still will be considering that wearing masks is a political statement, and they must be loyal to him and not wear masks.  Although we just had a pronouncement that one potential vaccine may be 90% effective, we are a long way from any vaccine being widely available.  Masks, according to the experts, are a good way to prevent more massive spread of the disease and deaths.

The coronavirus numbers are up in nearly all of the states.  There should be a way to get Americans to look beyond partisan politics.  Whatever our party affiliation, we are all Americans. We Americans, who are all immigrants to our country created the fabric of our society, wear or carry or wave the red, white, and blue, so how can we show our loyalty to America, the UNITED STATES?

Some who read the title of this blog post might say that American native indigenous people are not immigrants. They were the earliest immigrants. According to Wikipedia, “[t]he ancestors of living Native Americans arrived in what is now the United States at least 15,000 years ago, possibly much earlier, from Asia via Beringia,” then a land bridge from Russia to Alaska.  We are all immigrants. We have all contributed to the fabric of America.

It is not new to America that there is disagreement as to what it means to be American or who should be an American. But one thing has been clear to me in the last days of this contested election. Nearly half of Americans voted for President Trump and one hundred percent carried the red, white and blue, wore the red, white and blue and waved the red, white and blue.  More than half of Americans voted for President-Elect Biden and one hundred percent carried the red, white and blue, wore the red, white and blue and waved the red, white and blue.

PopPop, whose family came to America generations ago, says I, an immigrant myself, speak more often about being an American and being loyal to America. I have lived the American dream and it is alive in my soul.  Whether we are newly American or not, we are all concerned about our individual lives and how the results of this election impact us, our livelihoods, our families, our health, everything we hold dear, and each of us holds different things dear.

As a judge, I make it my business to read different newspapers and watch different news stations to hear the opinions and viewpoints. We are in an era where news can vary based on the source, and many suspect any news they hear.  As a judge, I am used to hearing all sides, and want to hear all opinions and viewpoints of the current election. I understand what those who do think that the election was stolen from President Trump are going through.  I understand what those who are distraught that the Senate will still be in Republican hands potentially causing continuing governing stalemate are going through.

The Kubler Ross stages of grief are what we all go through when we suffer an extreme, awful fate or loss, such as losing a loved one, and too many have lost loved ones to COVID-19.  According to Wikipedia, “[t]he Kübler-Ross model, commonly referred to as the “five stages of grief“, is a hypothesis introduced by [Doctor] Elisabeth Kübler-Ross asserting that when a person (or a survivor) is faced with the reality of impending death or other extreme, awful fate, he/she will experience a series of emotional “stages”: denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and, acceptance (in no specific sequence). . . . Her work revolutionized how the U.S. medical field took care of the terminally ill. “

The stages of grief can be applied to many more circumstances than just a death; they can be applied to the angst over what is happening with the presidential election.  As a family court judge, I adapted those stages to consider how those appearing before me were suffering the loss of their marriage.  I understand the stresses of life and how they interfere with living life.  See post, “Why Life Happens With Tears and Life Happens With Laughter and With Knowledge Comes Power to Understand and Cope With Life’s Challenges.”

As a family court judge who has presided over tens of thousands of divorce cases, I heard most often in contested cases two totally different versions of the same marriage. I told each party that I knew they 100% believed their version and they were telling me the truth. THEIR TRUTH. The truth through their eyes, the truth through their personal history, the truth through their personal experience, the truth from their perspective. As a judge, I explained, my role was to apply the law, those boundaries of the law, to their facts. It was my job, if they could not come to an amicable agreement, to tell them how to divide their property, spend their money, and raise their children. I told them that it does not work for adults to be told what to do. I told them a bad agreement is better than a good judgment from a judge, who is a stranger, who cannot hear everything they want to tell me based on laws and rules that may not be fair as applied to their unique family and circumstances.

In my judicial role, I applied the law to each of their facts. Some parties had a distinct advantage of having a lawyer, not only because lawyers are trained to give me the facts relevant to the law I had to apply to the facts, but also to counsel each party as to the possibility and probability of their success in prevailing on different contested issues. I found, in my 20 years on the bench, that a small minority, about 10% of parties could never vary from their positions, were rigid and willing to self-destruct, being stuck and fighting in court until their youngest child was eighteen.

I found that the vast majority of adults, after going through “denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and, acceptance” ultimately come to a way to live life in a different form that is acceptable, without the intervention of the law.  Now, the election is being examined according to election law, going through the deliberative process of determining the validity of the election results.  We, individual Americans, have no power over the result.

As a family court judge, after I heard and considered all the evidence presented, I wrote my first draft judgment within 48 hours to give my “gut” judgment. I knew that the emotionalism of the trial and the angst of the parties influenced that first draft judgment and it was flawed because of that. To be truly doing my duty as a judge, I felt I had to deliberate and contemplate all sides several times over several weeks. So I deliberated, thought about the facts as applied to the law. Deliberation for me as a judge was a job in and of itself. When there were children, I deliberated for six weeks. Each week for six weeks, I would pick up the draft judgment and think about it, take the notes that came to mind during the week and change the judgment or not. For purely financial issues, I did this for three weeks.  I could have edited and reviewed the draft judgment so many more times, but I had 1,500 to 2,500 cases so at some point I had to conclude my deliberation on one case and hope I did my best for the people and their families. I feel that the period all sides in the election are going through now is that period of emotionalism and angst that occurs while recovering from the Kubler-Ross stages of wounding and healing. This period will end too.

At the end of a trial, I told the parties about my deliberative process, what I was going to do, how I was going to try to come to a determination as to their disputed issues. I told them that their issues and their family was most important to them and I would treat it as such and do my best to consider all their positions, but most important, their interests, what was most important to them. I would try to accommodate their requests, but might not be able to do so, based on my determination of the law and facts, again, the best determination was one they made for themselves. I told them I had no pride of authorship. If they came to an agreement during my deliberation, and, indeed after I issued my judgment, I would respect their decision. However, under Florida law, while I would accept their agreement as to finances and property, child issues I would be required to review and approve as in the children’s best interests. I know that the period all sides in the election are going through now, that period of emotionalism and angst that occurs while recovering from the Kubler-Ross stages of wounding and healing, will also dissipate and there will be an ultimate conclusion.  The conclusion could come by agreement, but more likely than not, will be an externally imposed result.

Why have I explained my judicial deliberative process in such detail? That is what I apply when I listen to both sides in this contested national election.

What does that mean? The next president does not take office until January 20, 2021. Each of us as Americans has a choice. As we each heal from “denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and, acceptance,” we may or may not ultimately reach the acceptance of the certified result of the election.  Each person must decide whether to accept the results or be one of what, from my twenty years’ experience on the bench, will be the minority who continues angst, hurt, and conflict, detrimentally impacting life.

We Americans can remain rigid in our positions or rethink these positions as to what are the most important interests to each of us. Just because one might not support the person or the party that is the “winner” does not make that person or party a “loser,” but an AMERICAN with a different perspective, based on different backgrounds, different experiences, different interests. Each American does not lose their beliefs or their POWER as an American in America. We have the Constitution that allows for different points of view and different voices.

But, in my opinion, we now have a DUTY as Americans. We should take a deep breath and turn on the channel we do not listen to. We should listen to the other side’s perspective, the lens through which they see the world. The trial was not only to educate me to make a determination for the persons who appeared before me. It was for each side to hear the other side, to listen. If you listen, you can possibly understand where the other sides’ beliefs, positions, and interests come from.

Maybe we should all wear just red, white and blue until January 20, 2021 to remind us we are all Americans. We seem to be stuck at close to 50/50 opponents now. By each of us being deliberative like a judge, and in America, we can each be what we want to be, maybe we can get to just 10% of us stuck and the rest of us compromising and giving the other side a chance. America is stronger than the sum of its parts. We can keep our positions, just put a UNITED States of America first and give a little for the common good, the principles upon which our democracy are based.

What would be my wish? We can wear just red, white and blue until January 20, 2021 to remind us we are all Americans, by wearing a red, white and blue mask.  As we each deliberate until January 20, 2021, let us all wear such a mask to show we respect that at least more think that is important to saving American lives as an American. See if this simple act can make a difference. We won’t be able to see the smiles but they will be there.

Etsy has dozens of choices of masks with an American flag on them to choose from. Maybe we can get an Etsy vendor to create a red, white and blue mask with a saying, “I don’t believe in masks, but I believe in America.”

Whether we are immigrants or not, we are all AMERICANS and loyal to American.  Please, can we get someone on Etsy to make them with that saying?  Then, please send them to all your family and friends who might wear them with

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

 

 

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