By Michelle W. Jones, CMP, CAE

Election Day is nearly upon us in the U.S. To say that times are contentious is a woeful understatement. Whether you follow politics regularly or you check in only during election season, there is no denying this is an important time.

Each of us has our hot buttons–the issues we find most important. The economy, foreign policy, healthcare, immigration, military strength, taxes—these are just a few of the issues we have to weigh before entering that voting booth (or mailing that ballot).

I would urge you to remember it is your right and arguably your civic duty to vote. Brave men and women have fought for our freedom to participate in forging our future. We also enjoy the freedom to criticize when we are unhappy with the performance of elected leaders. These freedoms are precious and should be respected.

My second plea would be to remember to be kind. Your neighbor, your best friend, even your spouse may not hold the same opinion you do. That is no cause for rude behavior or violence. We should be able to agree to disagree. The attempt (and failure) to convince someone to think like you do should not outweigh the value of the relationship. If fans of Washington and Dallas football can be married to each other, you should be able to maintain a relationship with your neighbor regardless of the outcome of the presidential election. The golden rule we learned as children still applies. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I am making no political (party) statement. I even alphabetized the list of issues above, hoping to avoid perceived bias. Regardless of who is elected, I pray civility will prevail. Vote y’all!

Michelle W. Jones, CMP, CAE
 is IPMI’s director of meetings and membership.