Early this morning, I had the opportunity to chat on Facebook with Brian Christiansen, one of our soldiers in Afghanistan. He said that as of today, he has three more weeks until he comes home to Charlotte. I felt guilty writing him, feeling that somehow the “signal” from the internet would give the enemy a clue as to his location and put him in danger, but Brian set me straight. And of course, he knows what he’s doing! As he told me he wished time would speed up, I said I’d work on that and create a mayoral proclamation that time would actually bring him home soon. If only I could do that for him and for the other soldiers too far from home….
Perhaps this post will have nothing to do with Huntersville Connection or how to partner with businesses, but hopefully I can express some of the emotions and honor I felt having the chance to tell one of our soldiers how very much his efforts meant to me. To know that this gentlemen actually took the time to say hello — via Facebook! — humbled me more than I can say.
We are about to enter an election season and this will be my seventh as a candidate. I’ve seen the good and the bad that elections can bring — candidates that work together and candidates that distribute anonymous, mean-spirited flyers about their opponents in the stealth of night. I’ve watched people, under the auspices of their party’s ideology, criticize their neighbors and refuse to listen to other opinions or to compromise on behalf of the entire community. I’ve watched rifts grow, voices get too loud and seen people feel attacked. All for an election in a town of 48,000, that for the most part, actually has more in common about the assets and challenges in our town than some people realize.
When soldiers like Brian Christiansen sign up to protect our country, I know they vow to work together in the military — if they aren’t a “team”, their safety and well-being is at risk. Do they debate their political ideologies? Probably. Do the differences stop them from working together? Absolutely not. They are in Afghanistan and other hot spots around the world representing our freedom to differ, to speak our minds, to work together on behalf of the common good.
How petty of us if we cannot do the same.