I suspect most of us would agree that this has been a particularly brutal election season and I suspect most of us are extremely happy to see it finally ending today (hopefully it will end). And since it has been such a divisive, negative election; it becomes easy to be concerned, even to despair over the state and future of our country. So it may be important to step back and assess what we can be grateful for and feel satisfied about in regard to our politics and government. The United States is actually one of the longest lasting democracies in the world. Most European countries, while existing longer than the United States, have been democracies for a shorter period of time. The idea of a democracy is a fundamental shift which gives tremendous rights and power to individuals. The notion that every citizen of a certain age should have some influence over how the geography he or she lives in is governed was revolutionary and is a core concept in defining basic human rights and freedoms. And however “rigged” we may perceive the system to be in favor of those with wealth, power or connections, collectively we have an enormous ability to control the direction of our government and policy. So as you vote today, or if you have already voted, as you watch election returns, it is worth taking satisfaction in living in and being part of a relatively well-functioning democracy, one with a long history of stability. We all can and should be grateful for the opportunity to live our lives in this environment.