A couple of weeks ago, I attended a vigil for victims of domestic violence. Taking place only 10 days before the election, my week had been filled with divisive campaign rhetoric. The vigil on the other hand was filled with neighbors setting aside political differences to show support for one-another and help each other succeed.
I believe that the vast majority of people, regardless of political affiliation or background, want to see their neighbors and their country succeed. Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, our electoral process has never been about our desire to succeed; it is about how that success is best realized.
But now that the ballots have been counted, the final decision we must make is to set aside our differences and unite as a community. Division does not end simply because the polls close on Election Day; division ends when we choose to recognize and respect the humanity and dignity of all people. After all, we are united in the government we share.
We are certainly capable of making the decision to unite. I see it in my everyday life, in situations as simple as parents who look out for a neighbor’s child or as complicated as firefighters who risk their lives with no regard for the political affiliation of the person whose house is burning. I even saw it in our presidential candidates who, after the election, spoke of the need to come together as a country for the betterment of all. This type of unity should hold a mirror to us all that even when times are tough and money is scarce, when we work together, we can make our communities better for everyone.
As the political season comes to a close, I am happy to see President Obama reelected. As we enter the holiday season, it is time for us to come together as neighbors, and heal as a country. I also invite you to share with me additional ideas of how state government can unite with you and your neighbors to make our communities better for everyone.
Happy Holidays to all and best wishes for the New Year.
Assemblymember Mike Gatto
Mike Gatto is the chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly. He represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and portions of the Hollywood Hills and East Hollywood.
Email Mike at email@example.com, or call (818) 558-3043.