In a few days, this election cycle in the United States will have ended…but the hard work will have only begun.
This has been the most divisive campaign I can ever remember–and I’ve seen quite a few. We have unleashed hatred, racism, sexism, and misogyny on a level I don’t remember ever seeing. People are fearful of each other…families and friendships have been split…words that I thought had been banished from polite vocabulary have become commonplace again…
Whatever happens, on Wednesday we will have a new president. What are we going to do next?
It’s become obvious that we need to talk with each other. Not at…we’ve done far too much of that for far too many years.
The conversations are going to be uncomfortable–for everyone. We need to hear why people are afraid. We need to hear people’s concerns–financial…family…ethical…
But if we don’t carry on those conversations, the chasm that currently divides us will only continue growing deeper. This division didn’t develop just in the last couple of years, as the election cycle ran its course. And it won’t be bridged in a short couple of years. It’s going to take a while.
It’s going to take a willingness to listen to each other…not just roll our eyes when we hear comments that we “know” aren’t true. It’s going to require us to take on the challenge of developing a common vocabulary again. It’s going to require us to acknowledge that we all have concerns for our country–and to figure out areas of commonality (and that’s not going to be easy, either). Perhaps most difficult…it’s going to challenge us to begin to trust each other.
We’ve done this before…sort of. After the Civil War, we hated and feared each other. We mistrusted each other. But we struggled to bring together this nation. Did we succeed? Well, to a point…but this election cycle has shown that we didn’t finish the task.
But we’re are now 150+ years older. Are we more mature? Can we begin at least a little further along the road? and go further down the road of reconciliation with each other?
It’s going to be an ongoing process. Probably never totally completed. But we must continue the process–or we will find ourselves in the same position of some other countries who did not/could not find ways to work together…and who have destroyed themselves.