By Neal Lemery
The quiet you are hearing today as you sip your coffee is the resumption of normal life after the frantic election season. The passionate voices and political advertising noise are fading into the past. We can collect our thoughts without being bombarded, manipulated, and offered endless rides on the roller coasters of political hype. I need to burn off the adrenaline and angst that the marketers and a number of my friends and neighbors have been firing up in our community life.
It might even be safe to have coffee with a friend and exchange pleasantries at the grocery store and post office without donning our political armor. I’d welcome a time of not having heated encounters that will erupt into cultural warfare and social media bloodletting.
One way to think of the election results is by listing the winners and losers. That’s painful and continues the divisiveness that has marked this political season. And, remember, the “losers” are still around, still involved in our community. Like all of us, they should be a positive force for building community.
Labeling and belittling people isn’t productive, to say the least. I, for one, have had my fill of negative politics this year. There will be other elections and other conversations and debates about important community issues. Those discussions should include all of us, no matter who received the most votes this week.
There are real winners in this election: For one, democracy and voter participation. 80% of those registered made the effort to vote. Lots of people got involved and talked about issues, policies and goals that are important to all of us. And, secondly, the community won. All this energy and passion educated many of us about important questions and issues that affect how we live and where we go from here. Many of us are fired up to get more involved and bring about change.
No matter what the election returns mean to each of us, we still live in our community. We still have family, friends, and neighbors whom we value. We are still together, and we still share our lives, our hopes, and our dreams. I still want to believe that the vast majority of us are good people, who are living their lives with compassion and a determination to make a better world.
Life goes on. No matter who received the most votes, our community issues are still here, and still need our attention. We still have work to do. Not necessarily political work, mind you, but vital work nonetheless. Together we are stronger.