During this past killing machine election cycle that lasted two very long years until we learned who would become our next President, who would control Congress and by how much of a margin, the bitter divide in ideology between those who consider themselves progressives and those who claim the conservative mantle was probably the deepest and the loudest in the history of our nation.
Sounding almost like the warning shots of a new American civil war, the rancor and name calling on both sides made us all sound as though we were from two different warring nations. All over now save for a couple of contested Senate races, the clear new direction has been declared by the electorate, but there still remains a seething hatred just beneath the surface.
On television one listens to the talking heads, left with the impression that they believe that now that the election is over, the angels of harmony have descended from on high, the streets are once again made of milk and honey, and all of us have returned to living in peaceful bliss, awaiting the clarion call to arms of the next great political battle. Knowing that the truth is that hurt feelings and those who promote divisiveness are online and posting every single day, some pretend they aren't there, while others actively attack the writings and try to refute and rebuke what the fear mongers are selling.
It's quite possible that the rift between the varying factions and political camps may never be sewn together, but that doesn't mean that as Americans, we can not accomplish great things together that require absolutely no ideological thoughts at all. Here's a few of the great enjoyable past times that are part of all of our lives, and which we may all partake of together.
1.) American Football. Where else on the face of the earth do people of all walks of life come together as one force to cheer for their favorite team? Democrats and Republicans suddenly forget their differences as it's 4th and 1 on the goal line with 15 seconds to go in a three point game.
2.) Las Vegas. 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.' Oh man! Talk about non partisan activity! The roulette wheel could care less what Party you're from, and neither does the person standing next to you. A big win garners cheers from everyone surrounding you, and a loss will gain you sympathetic pats on the back. The lights, the buffets, the secret little 'dancing' halls, all designed to make you feel as though you'd died and gone to heaven.
3.) New Year's Eve In Times Square. More neon lights than the Las Vegas strip it seems, the crowds in the hundreds of thousands are particularly diverse. No one knows nor does anyone care who you are, or who you voted for. This is America's celebration of an upcoming year of hope for the future, and around the nation, cities big and small hold their own version of the ball drop. A night where all is forgotten save the revelry of the moment, and all is well with the world.
4.) The Grand Canyon. Millions and millions of Americans and foreign visitors have enjoyed the stunning majesty of the Grand Canyon, and if you haven't, plan to do so. The Skywalk that opened in 2007 will make you forget that you're from any political party, as vertigo causes all the blood to drain from your face and you have to be helped back to terra firma by your fellow citizens.
5.) Niagra Falls. Speaking of vertigo, look straight down while leaning over the fence at the edge of this rushing waterfall and you'll most certainly believe that those who went over the side in a barrel were at best, lunatics. And best of all, you can see Canada from the other side!
6.) Yellowstone National Park. Spouting geysers of hot water shooting high into the air. Bubbling natural hot tubs where the braver souls bathe. Or for the really maniacal, you can hop in a little boat and whitewater raft it down the Yellowstone River. Think you'll be worried about politics as your body is being battered into the stone walls? Or maybe you'll be lucky enough to witness the largest volcanic eruption in the history of man when the magma chamber underneath Yellowstone blows it's top!
7.) Tundrabuggy Tour. A little taste of the Alaskan outback is just the trick to force a new world view upon anyone. Democrats and Republicans alike can fly from Anchorage to Fairbanks, switch planes and arrive 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. From there, you'll hop into a 'tundrabuggy', a behemoth driving vehicle that allows passengers to see polar bears up close and personal. Tundrabuggy breakdown? No problem. Just wait for the bears to go to sleep and try to make a run for it back to the nearest town. Who was running for office again?
8.) Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party Museum will give people from all walks of life a twinge of nostalgia and a sense of the pride of our Founding Fathers who used the East India Company incident as a catalyst for a revolution. December 16th, 1773 should have been the actual day we declared independence, but better late than never, eh?
9.) Wrigley Field. If you take a visit to Chicago, visiting Wrigley Field has to be a must do on your list. America loves the Cubs, America hates the Cubs, but we all love the hot dogs and the deep dish pizza. One of the best days to visit this city is July 4th, especially if you book a room at the downtown Holiday Inn. On the rooftop, where the pool is, you'll have a panorama view of the entire city. When darkness falls, the spectacular sight of fireworks going off across your entire field of vision will cause a lump to come to your throat, and you'll know for sure that we are one nation.
10.) Mount Rushmore. Visiting South Dakota might seem boring to some, but a trip to this national treasure can quickly help to put things into perspective. Besides, once you've seen all there is to see at this National Park, you can take a drive down the road to Sturgis. Just ask John McCain if you don't think this can be a rowdy bi-partisan party. Plus, South Dakota has casinos! Lose your money, lose all thoughts of partisanship, and take your life in your hands all in one trip. What more can you ask for?
Now, there's just ten of the hundreds of destinations and activities that can be enjoyed on a non partisan basis. Places and things that make America unique, and Americans even more unique. Because at the end of the day, as the above examples point out, we can come together. Whether it be for a riotous good time, or to fight against tyranny, we are one nation, and it's time we start working together to get out of the mess we are in. We can all start fighting again four years from now, when we hopefully have decided that all of this name calling and bickering is counter productive, and we need to allow each other to live our own lives the way we choose, without the interference of factional divides.