Post-Election Thoughts

I don’t know about you, but I have had enough.

I have had enough of the polarization. The hatred. The intolerance. The accusations and mistrust. We are the United States of America. And it is time for us to buck up.

The 2016 Presidential election was divisive, to say the least. It exposed the deep-seated hatred and prejudice that sadly still exists in much of this country. But no matter who you voted for, Donald Trump will be our next president. That is our reality, and we must accept it. The very nature of a two-party system is that half the country will be unhappy most of the time. Ask a Democrat how they felt in 2000. Or a Republican in 2008. That is just the way it works.

If the election did not go the way you hoped, I feel your pain. I understand the disappointment, the anger, and the helplessness you may be experiencing. You are not alone.

If the election did go the way you hoped, I am happy for you. I truly hope this turns out the way you wished. I will admit, I am skeptical. But I value the sharing of power in our political system. And I am doing my best to remain optimistic.

What really troubles me, though, is the lack of unity our country now faces. We are more divided than ever, and as Trump’s administration begins to form, signs of hope for the healing of America are few and far between. But I sincerely believe that we are all at fault. No one party caused this fracturing; it was a joint effort. And it must be a joint effort to fix it.

Where do we begin? For starters, we must learn how to put politics aside in our personal lives. Believe it or not, you are allowed to have friends and family members with differing political views. It may be difficult, but try focusing on those things you do have in common. For example, no matter where you fall politically, everyone hates paying taxes. See? We’re healing already! So next time you see a Facebook post that angers you, maybe just keep scrolling. Everyone is entitled to voice their opinions, but sometimes arguing for argument’s sake is counterproductive.

Now, for my friends on the left, it is time to stop victimizing ourselves. This election may have been a shocking wake-up call, but the world is not ending. Everything will be okay. The rhetoric from some members of the right may be unsettling, but it is absolutely imperative to remember that not all Republicans are bad people. Not all conservatives are white supremacists, racists, sexists, or homophobes. Yes, there is a portion of the Republican Party with those beliefs, and this election has given them a stronger platform for their voices to be heard. But please, remember that they are the minority. You take offense when sweeping generalizations are made about Muslims or refugees, and for good reason. So do not make such generalizations about half of America. They do not like it, either.

For my friends on the right, it is time to stop blaming everything the left. We are unhappy with the incoming president. But we are entitled to our disappointment. And as Americans, we all must be critical and hold all of our public officials, both Democrats and Republicans, accountable for their words and actions. It is acceptable to be disturbed by Mr. Trump’s cabinet appointees or support an investigation of possible Russian interference in the election. That does not mean that we are trying to delegitimize our President-Elect. We are not trying to deny the outcome of the election or find a way to push Hillary Clinton into the White House. We are only trying to do the best we can to be vigilant in the face of hatred and injustice. Please, join us in this fight.

The healing process will not be an easy one. It will take longer than four years. It very well may last decades. But it is a necessary process, because we cannot go on like this. We cannot have each half of the country hate and mistrust the other. We cannot become complacent to bigotry and sexism. Americans may have differing views for the means of our government, but we all want the same end. We all want a more peaceful, safe, and happy world for our children and grandchildren. We want to be proud to be American. That is not a partisan idea.

As Stephen Colbert said during his live election-night special, “Whether your side won or lost, we don’t have to do this shit for a while.” He is right. The election was tumultuous. But it is over. And now, the only way we can move on and begin to heal, is together.

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