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John Tsilimparis Headshot

Obama's Victory: Another Big Step for Mankind (and Womankind)

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Although I am not very political, I have voted in every election dating back to 1980. I am not an economist or a businessman. I am not a master at foreign policy, I am not a lawyer and I don't know how to fix the health care system. But I do passionately pay attention to the social implications of an election. I pay attention to the big picture which asks the question: How are we treating our people in society? How is this going to affect our children right now and future generations to come?

For most people -- and rightly so -- the larger issue in this election was the economy and how we can move this country forward into prosperity in the next four years. But for me, the big question in every election is how are we going to move forward as a society, as a united people helping, accepting and being fair to each other? As a great nation, how we treat our people, defines who we really are. Therefore, thinking progressively by adjusting our values and beliefs to accommodate the changes we are constantly challenged by, is key to our strength and unity. Adjusting means building tolerance skills to learn how to accept frames of reference that are not our own. It means being flexible and remembering that traditions change over time and new ones are born. This adjusting does not mean compromising values or neglecting them. It means we must continue to evolve, fine-tune and meet the needs of the people. Remember, no change means stagnation.

To name a few, agendas such as opposing a woman's right to choose, denying rights to gays and lesbians, fundamental religiosity and trying to mesh church and state are not progressive and seem to ignore what is really going on in this country. These agendas are out of touch with the emotional pulse and heartbeat of America. The truth is the American family has changed so much that we can decide to help it progress, or we can oppress it. For example, many people still see the American family as a married couple (man and woman), with a few kids, living in a nice house. However, the American family as we know is a blended family, a single parent family, a biracial family and a gay parent family.

This is life as we know it. Oppress or help pro-gress. The choice is ours.

Let us also remember too that fewer than 100 years ago, women were not allowed to vote in the United States. Don't we all look back in shock over such an absurd fact? Don't we all agree in retrospect that denying a human being such a right was outrageous? Well, perhaps we need to spare ourselves the retrospective guilt TODAY, and open our eyes to what is happening in our society.

Emotional Prosperity: Healthy Self-Esteem

To move this country forward to emotional prosperity, our sense of self or our ability to feel pride in who we are must be tough and buoyant. Hence, we must evolve with the shifting family and help them to develop and be strong so they can nurture their children to be proud of where they came from. Opposing progress sends a message to these parents and children that they are inferior and they don't belong. If they pass on the same repressive message that being diverse is substandard we are perpetuating a counter-culture of social discrimination that causes people to feel anxious and depressed. These messages are hurtful and cause people to develop low self-esteem and insecurity. A country that has large groups of people with low morale is not a resilient and healthy country.

Think about it: Assuming I am not a criminal of any kind, if the society I am a member of tells me I am living immorally and I am denied rights because of my beliefs or because of who I am, over time, this will erode my confidence as a member of the human race. I will begin to feel ashamed of who and what I am and I may spread that shame to my children. Subsequently, I will begin to expect less, I will settle for mediocrity in my life and I may feel unentitled to have personal dreams and goals. Social rejection can cause such deep depression that people become desperate and sometimes suicidal. Humans need to feel like they are part of something. They need to feel like they belong regardless of how they choose to live their lives.

The mental well-being of our nation is critical to keep us fit and durable for the future. The presence of anxiety and depression is very prevalent right now due to so many external factors that we don't want to add more negative stimulus. The last 11 years since 9/11 have been very trying after two long wars, terrorist threats, a poor economy, unemployment, natural disasters, etc.

So, Obama's victory was a sign that America stood taller, prouder, and more erect. Perhaps this election victory will inspire a future trend of conservative modernization around the issues mentioned above. Perhaps it's time for many conservative thinkers to redesign the design and consider what's outside the box of outdated tradition.

On Tuesday, the American people spoke and aligned themselves with being part of "progress." We took another step for mankind and I hope we can take some "leaps" in the future too.