By Joe Rector

Life decisions are often difficult ones for us humans to make. Unlike our dogs, who while away the days sleeping, sunning, playing, and eating, we must make choices. The tough part about making those choices is having to also accept and live with the consequences.

As small children, we learned as we grew. Sure, life was easy in comparison to the one a grown-up led, but lessons were many times difficult. I came from a generation that quickly learned what was appropriate. A wrong course of action many times resulted in a swat to the bottom. In most cases, I understood what the expectations were and what the difference between right and wrong was. Not once was I placed in time-out and instructed to think about what action would have been better, nor did I ever hear from my parents what amounted to “stop…our I’ll say stop again.” So, when I did choose to do something that broke the rules, I knew I had to suffer the consequences.

The same held true just a few years later. Part of being a teen almost dictated that we made bad, often stupid decisions. Staying out passed curfew (that’s that time when we were to be home) meant opening the door to a worried, fuming parents. Drinking alcohol with friends most often ended in the dry heaves over a toilet. Racing the car led to wrecks, tickets, and loss of driving privileges. Teenagers were too big to spank, so parents “grounded” them instead. Being trapped at home with no hope of escape was much worse than the temporary pain from corporal punishment. In all cases, we teens made conscious decisions and knew that we deserved whatever consequences came our way.

During our adult lives, we’ve acted in ways that sometimes ran counter to our best interests. We’ve associated with the wrong groups of people who enjoyed doing things outside the lines. We took the chance of running afoul of the law. At other times, we lived a life well beyond our means and then discovered that the debts we’d incurred would take years to be paid. Sadly, some of us made the wrong choices in personal relationships. They ended with the pain of divorce or separation, and our lives were forever impacted or colored by the broken bonds.

What is common about all of these situations, as well as life in general, is the principle of “action equals consequence.” The same holds true for the political elections that just occurred. People made choices of candidates. I’m afraid that instead or researching the persons running to discover their truths that most people chose based on what they felt (emotions) or what they saw (negative ads). In either case, the American electorate acted in choosing their representatives. This year’s race inspired a flood of voters, something not usual for a midterm election. That is the positive of our democracy. People determine the face and body of this government. Sometimes, it’s beautiful; sometimes, it’s monstrous.

The part to remember is that now that folks have made their decisions, they must be willing to accept the consequences of their actions. No one needs to whine about losing rights; not a single person needs to carp about a spiraling national debt; never should people snap about “how corrupt the folks in Washington are;” no worries should be uttered about the plight of others less fortunate or of our world affairs. The majority spoke to elect the ones who are in; they must now live with the things that those elected officials do.

It might prove to be wise for people to remember that choices always have consequences. That might prevent them from selecting poor leaders the next cycle. If not, then those folks will certainly need to sit down, shut up, and accept what is coming.