COUNSELOR'S CORNER: Inner peace after the election

By Fred Cavaiani

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th. It is also my brother's birthday. He and I are very close even though we live in different states. My article comes out on Tuesdays so by the time you read this article the voting will be in process or may even be over. Hopefully by the end of November 6 or in the wee hours of Wednesday morning we may know who will be the next President of the United States. For some this will be sad news. For others it will be joyful news. For all of us, life will go on regardless who becomes the next President.

I mention my brother because though we are very close we share different political viewpoints. Yet those viewpoints have never interfered in our relationship. He is not out to change my viewpoint and I am not out to change his. We respect how each of us thinks and feels about politics, life, religion, family and whatever other opinions we might both have. This respect and love for each other has allowed us to enjoy each other's company and has allowed our families to remain close for so many years. It is always refreshing to be with him and his family and our gatherings are always joyful and fun. There is an inner peace which allows freedom and respect for one another.

So much money is spent on electing a President. Probably each candidate will have spent over a billion dollars to get elected. That is a lot of money to be elected to a position for four years. And no matter who is elected, the power of a President to make changes is still quite limited. The Power of a President to inspire and persuade however is very broad. Whoever is elected needs to understand that a President is limited in what he can accomplish. It is Congress that introduces laws and passes laws. It is Congress working together that can make permanent changes. But a President needs to realize that he has the capacity to motivate and inspire all of us to live better lives. I do believe that each candidate has the capacity to do this.

Yet whatever candidate is elected, he needs the support and respect of Congress and the support of all of us. The time for bickering and digging in our heels in a stubborn, rigid, manner needs to be over. I no longer can vote against something simply because it was proposed by the "other" party. This is unethical and harmful for the welfare of our citizens. It is not why we have a democratic government.

I again think of my brother. We have ran 26 mile Marathons together, played and competed in basketball together, laughed and cried together at wedding and funerals. Our families have had such joyous moments together. Yet we still saw things different politically. These differences made no difference to our relationship. We could always look at each other's viewpoints with respect and understanding.

It is not the President of the United States that unites the country. It is a Congress getting along with each other with respect and concern that unites a country. The family of the Senate and the family of the House need to stay as a family regardless who becomes the next President.

If we are judgmental and condemning people, we will want to elect judgmental and condemning people. And how does that work out for us? If we act sarcastic and demeaning to the other party, how does that work out for all of us? Families that personally demean one another are called dysfunctional families. A Congress that demeans one another is a dysfunctional congress. Political parties that are judgmental, sarcastic, demeaning and antagonistic are dysfunctional political parties.

Inner peace comes from a kindness and respect towards all. It comes from a mutual sharing and listening to one another's ideas and viewpoints without preconceived notions and inner judgments.

Whoever will be our next President needs our respect and cooperation. We also need his respect and cooperation.

Inner peace comes from a realization that no man or woman will be the ultimate answer for all of our problems. Certainly no President will be the ultimate answer. But inner peace will result when I treat everyone with respect and with a sincere desire to understand each other. Inner peace also results from the realization that my viewpoint of the world and politics is not the absolute truth. We are all on the same journey and we need to work together.

On this November 6th as I think about my brother and also who will be the next President of the United States, I am convinced that whoever gets elected will not destroy my inner peace. My brother and I are peaceful because we can respect and love each other. It is a great way to live. Happy Birthday Ralph. Congratulations to you President Elect Barack Obama or President Elect Mitt Romney. May all good things happen during your Presidency. And may we all work together with you and the other party to make sure good things happen. By the way, if you need some help, I have a brother who will be great in helping you.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Tue, Nov 6, 2012