people who have earned my respect this election season
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. She spoke at the DNC, has shown bipartisan support within state government, has made a special trip to Utah to meet with leaders of the LDS Church to gain understanding to deal with the rise in Mormon population and is currently in London working to attract British businesses and airlines to the state. (A direct flight from PHX to Heathrow would be fabulous by my standards.)

Arizona Sen. John McCain. Even though he was so highly favored to win reelection that his opponent didn't even have support from the Democratic party, McCain still agreed to debate Stuart Starky because he "was very impressed that Mr. Starky went all over the state to gather signatures...The fact that he qualified to be on the ballot, he deserves to debate me face to face." He's just a class-act. And because he made Jay Leno laugh so hard he couldn't speak on the Tonight Show a couple days after the election.

Candidate John Kerry, for knowing when to let the political process speak and not causing greater strife by drawing the process into a legal battle. My hope now resides in the fact that Kerry still has his Senate seat and that he and McCain will use their friendship to encourage their parties to work together.

NYT columnist Thomas Friedman. He puts words to my own beliefs. Everytime I read his column, I come away learning something about myself and the world. An example from today's column: "...what troubled me this past Wednesday was my feeling that this election was tipped because of an outpouring of support for George Bush by people who don't just favor different policies from me—they favor a whole different kind of America from me. We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is." (emphasis not added)

The more than 70 Boulder High School students who organized a peaceful protest (with the consent of the principal) in the school's library Thursday night because they were concerned that their views were not being listened to.

Colorado Rep. Mark Udall. He met with said students Friday morning at the end of their protest to engage them in discussion about their concerns.

Speaking of Coloradoans, Sarah. She and I can debate and discuss politics, and even though we come to different conclusions, we can leave our debates knowing that our friendship is stronger because we respect each other's beliefs.

My sister, Allison, who made the efforts to learn about the local and national issues and candidates before voting for the first time.

My parents. My mom, for her emotional response this morning in church to a hymn that reminded her that even though the election outcome did not match her beliefs, all is in God's hands. My dad, for his half-joking/half-serious suggestion that "marriages" (the religious ceremonies) should be left totally to the churches/synogues/places of worship, and that the government term for civil unions for any/all couples who wish to be so united should be changed to "partnerships." Says he: "We would be Ken and Hildie, Inc. She's the CEO and I'm the CFO."

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