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Shapiro: Despite current political vitriol … we’re lucky to live in America

By Gary Shapiro | Digital Free Press

When my son was little, he played Little League. I can remember how excited he was being with his friends and classmates playing sports. He looked so darn cute in his team’s T-shirt.

Gary Shapiro

The weeks turned into years. T-shirts matured into formal uniforms. The trunk of my car was always full of equipment as we schlepped him to countless practices and games.

His athletic prowess improved over time. Although there were millions of kids across the country engaged in similar activities, we found ourselves dreaming about his future.

What if he ended up a professional athlete? Would he remember all of our sacrifices that lead to his ultimate success? Would he share his newfound wealth in our old age?

I no longer think about my son becoming a professional athlete. He’s doing well in a different career path.

But, when I watch sports on TV or when I go to a spring training baseball game at Scottsdale Stadium, I think about those ball players and their parents.

When a rookie ballplayer first steps out on to the field, I hope they reflect back on their past. I hope they take pause to acknowledge the fact they actually made it to the “bigs,” and they wouldn’t be there without the previous help and support from their families, coaches and community.

They need to seize the magnitude of the moment.

Digressing from Little League, all of us are currently engulfed in this election cycle. Our streets are cluttered with campaign signs and our mailboxes are chocked full of campaign propaganda.

I’ll admit I’m not a fan of the clutter. I’ll admit there are candidates I will never endorse or support.

However, I’m proud of our democracy along with the right and ability of people to run for public office. That doesn’t occur in countries run by dictators and autocrats.

I have friends and acquaintances who are running for public office. I may or may not agree with their platforms, leadership skills and or their demeanor.

Some get my support and some I hope will lose.

Recently, I shared my story about rookie baseball players with two of the candidates. I called them when my early ballot first came in the mail.

I wanted to share my respect and admiration for the process that their names were actually on an official ballot and people could choose to vote for them.

I wanted to make sure that win or lose they showed the blank ballot to their children and grandchildren to demonstrate why America is special and anything is possible.

Before they return their ballot, I hope they keep a copy for their scrapbook or their family’s time capsule.

Despite the current political vitriol, and the horrific events in the news, we’re lucky to live in America.

Editor’s note: Mr. Shapiro is a Realtor and longtime local community advocate.

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