I have witnessed it firsthand: the tears of frustration, the angry stares, the unrelenting animosity, the blatant hatred.
At first glance, one might think I am a marriage counselor trying to mend relationships beyond repair.
But, alas, it is an election year. I am but a wife, mother, preschool teacher, and a native Atlantan.
I have seen some incredible sights in my short time on this earth, but not many compare to the vitriol seen during this election season.
This goes beyond party affiliations, repeated campaign donation requests, stickers on our bumpers, signs in our yards, or all those tiresome ads on the television that we are all subjected to on a daily basis.
It started quietly and unseen and may have even been unintentional.
Now, it is pervasive, a plague that may not end after our polling places close on Nov. 6 and a winner is declared.
It is deplorable that our community has relented and has let an election issue polarize our community into two camps.
Life-long friendships are strained or have been ended.
Households are at odds with one another and even neighborhood children are arriving at their own conclusions and taking action.
What am I referring to? Amendment One — The Charter School Amendment.
Never before have I witnessed such an extreme inability for two parties to come together and attempt resolution or even a mutual understanding of each other.
It seems that only one story is being heard by the public (whichever side you are on).
Attempts have been made to cross the aisle and the outcome has been negligible if not downright acrimonious. What is it going to take for us to take a realistic look at this issue and come up with pragmatic solutions?
We are Americans; we take pride in our varied opinions and being allowed the freedom to speak those opinions. But, at whose expense?
Just because we are Americans doesn’t mean that we can relinquish our duties to our fellow man, even in an election year.
We should remember common courtesy, patience, graciousness, self-control and ultimately cooperation.
Maybe, just maybe, we could actually move beyond the petty hatred and move towards something greater: Unification for the greater good — our future — our children.
Alicia Doelman Smerk