Wor­ried about the morn­ing af­ter

Mary­lan­ders won­der what will be­come of the rifts ex­posed in the cam­paign

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Jean Mar­bella Bal­ti­more Sun re­porters Liz Bowie, Erin Cox, Jonathan Pitts, Kevin Rec­tor, Yvonne Wenger and Pamela Wood con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. jmar­bella@balt­sun.com

Three pri­ests stood out­side a polling place Tues­day in Ti­mo­nium pon­der­ing the sa­cred and the sec­u­lar.

“My con­gre­ga­tion has a bunch of fam­i­lies di­vided — it’s a mi­cro­cosm of the larger coun­try,” said the Rev. Kristofer Lind­hPayne, rec­tor of Epiphany Epis­co­pal Church in Bal­ti­more County.

“We do stay to­gether, even though we are di­vided,” he said, as vot­ers streamed in and out of Pot Spring El­e­men­tary School. “But what will the af­ter­math be like, if no mat­ter who wins, a large part of our coun­try is go­ing to be grieving?”

The pres­i­den­tial cam­paign has been so bruis­ing and di­vi­sive that Lindh-Payne and other pri­ests made them­selves avail­able in polling places, churches and other venues for vot­ers who needed a heal­ing prayer or two

Hus­bands and wives, par­ents and chil­dren, of­fice mates, real-life and Face­book friends have found them­selves on op­po­site sides — with the bal­lots they cast Tues­day not nec­es­sar­ily re­solv­ing the stand­off.

“I get to can­cel out my hus­band,” Jan Kea­dle said of her vote for Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Kea­dle, 57, ran the mile or so from her house to Pot Spring El­e­men­tary, hav­ing tucked a small Amer­i­can flag into her head­band and wear­ing match­ing shorts.

It was a fes­tive day for many across the state. But for po­lit­i­cally mixed mar­riages like hers, Kea­dle, a mother of two who works for a print­ing com­pany and runs marathons, do­mes­tic peace re­quired a cer­tain diplo­macy — if not out­right avoid­ance.

“There was a lot of chang­ing of the sub­ject — ‘OK, let’s cut it off here,’ ” Kea­dle said. “We had to cut it off in the bed­room.”

Sim­i­larly, an­other voter at Pot Spring, Jerry Wo­j­towycz, 60, said he and his golf­ing and fish­ing bud­dies kept the peace by avoid­ing talk of pol­i­tics.

“We de­cided we couldn’t con­vince each other to vote for the op­po­nent,” said the re­tired Proc­ter and Gam­ble tech ser­vices worker, a Trump sup­porter. “We ba­si­cally stayed away from it.”

Af­ter such an an­gry cam­paign sea­son, there was pal­pa­ble re­lief in the civic rit­ual of vot­ing.

“We’re ready for this to be over, and hope­fully the re­sult will be con­clu­sive and we can move on,” said Mil­dred Charles, 43, of Up­per Marl­boro. She par­tic­i­pated in early vot­ing, cast­ing her bal­lot for Clin­ton a few days ago so she could spend Tues­day pro­mot­ing a Prince Ge­orge’s County school board can­di­date.

“At first, it was en­ter­tain­ing. I watched all the de­bates. I pulled out the pop­corn,” Charles, an ad­junct com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­fes­sor, said of the cam­paign. “It’s no longer en­ter­tain­ment. This is se­ri­ous.”

She now feels dif­fer­ently about a child­hood friend who ar­dently sup­ports Trump, and main­tained a si­lence-is-golden stance to­ward her hus­band, who said he re­mained un­de­cided as late as Tues­day morn­ing. Joseph But­ler, 62, liked some of Trump’s . Vot­ers line up out­side the gym­na­sium at Ham­p­den El­e­men­tary/Mid­dle School on Tues­day morn­ing — one sign of the heavy turnout in por­tions of Bal­ti­more. Many vot­ers said the cam­paign raised deeply per­sonal is­sues and dif­fer­ences. truth-telling — although he also thought it went too far.

“It’s only brought up the ug­li­ness in peo­ple that’s al­ways been there,” he said.

But he said the na­tional air­ing of griev­ances will be cathar­tic, a nec­es­sary step before any­one can try to heal the rift. “It’s ther­apy for the coun­try,” But­ler said. In Hagerstown, a cou­ple sup­port­ing Trump also wel­comed the end of the cam­paign.

“With the way the main­stream press has cov­ered this, it has been non­stop — you couldn’t avoid it,” said Brian Robak, 43, as he and his wife, Rae, 35, left their polling place.

Robak, a busi­ness owner, de­cried what he con­sid­ered the “over­whelm­ing” proClin­ton bias of their 12-year-old son’s teach­ers.

Rae Robak, who teaches grade school in West Vir­ginia, found a de­cided anti-Clin­ton sen­ti­ment there. She de­cided to stop teach­ing gov­ern­ment and civics in class over the last few weeks be­cause “ev­ery time I did, things blew up.

“You should have heard what they’ve been say­ing,” she said. “‘Hil­lary’s a killer,’ ‘Hil­lary will take our re­li­gion away,’ ‘Hil­lary’s worth­less.’ It has been al­most scary. I de­cided, ‘Let’s fo­cus on sci­ence for a few weeks. We’ll come back to social stud­ies af­ter the elec­tion.’ ”

In this most dys­pep­tic of cam­paigns, there were vot­ers who were dis­sat­is­fied with both choices on the bal­lot. None of the above, or at least none of the ma­jor can­di­dates, was Ed­wina Har­lee’s choice at Hazel­wood El­e­men­tary/Mid­dle School in North­east Bal­ti­more.

“If I had voted for ei­ther of them, I would have sold my soul to the devil,” said Har­lee, 33, who works for a med­i­ca­tion de­liv­ery ser­vice.

For many, the cam­paign raised is­sues that were deeply per­sonal — from the kind of sex­ual ha­rass­ment Trump was ac­cused of, to the ques­tion of what to do about im­mi­gra­tion.

The lat­ter was a con­cern for John Zaun­fuchs, a 56-year-old Repub­li­can, who voted for Trump at Golds­boro Fire Hall in ru­ral Caroline County on the Eastern Shore.

He’s met im­mi­grants in his com­mu­nity of Mary­del and is con­cerned about those who aren’t learn­ing English or try­ing to as­sim­i­late into Amer­i­can cul­ture.

“They’re good peo­ple, but there’s a right way and a wrong way,” said Zaun­fuchs, who is semire­tired from the print­ing in­dus­try.

In im­mi­grant-rich Mont­gomery County, the is­sue was par­tic­u­larly per­sonal, es­pe­cially among His­pan­ics.

Clin­ton won the sup­port of Glo­ria Y. Arevalo, a 27-year-old para­le­gal, and her mother, Glo­ria M. Arevalo, 58, a cook for the Mont­gomery County school sys­tem who moved to the United States years ago from El Sal­vador. They voted at James Hu­bert Blake High School in Sil­ver Spring.

Trump’s rhetoric about build­ing a wall on the coun­try’s southern bor­der helped make their decision an easy one.

“Don­ald Trump wants to get rid of all Mex­i­cans or all His­pan­ics in gen­eral,” the younger Arevalo said. “In gen­eral, we don’t want to see fam­i­lies sep­a­rated. It’s not a good thing. Peo­ple are com­ing here look­ing for a bet­ter life.”

But an­other im­mi­grant, J.D. Chawla, a 49-year-old fi­nan­cial plan­ner who says he has “an Amer­i­can flag carved in­side my heart,” cast his vote for Trump. Orig­i­nally from India, he and his wife, Tammy, brought their 8- and 12-year-old chil­dren to the polls to wit­ness what he calls “a very piv­otal elec­tion.”

“It changes the dy­namic of the fu­ture of this coun­try and the eco­nomics of this coun­try and the track that we will end up tak­ing sig­nif­i­cantly,” Chawla said.

Like oth­ers across the state, he wor­ries about what will hap­pen af­ter the polls close and a vic­tor emerges. He pre­dicted a Clin­ton vic­tory would leave the coun­try di­vided.

“I think the rift will con­tinue, be­cause there’s a sense of de­spair among many,” he said. “There’s a sense of, ‘No, not this again for an­other four years,’ and pos­si­bly even eight years.”

Richard Sher­rill, 77, sim­i­larly ex­pressed a bleak out­look at odds with the rolling coun­try­side sur­round­ing his polling place, the Veron­ica “Roni” Chenowith Ac­tiv­ity Cen­ter in Fall­ston in Har­ford County.

“The Con­sti­tu­tion will be ig­nored if one can­di­date wins — Hil­lary,” the re­tiree said. “If [Trump] loses, I will wear black on Wed­nes­day. And a flag pin up­side down.”

In coun­ter­point was the thrill oth­ers felt at the prospect of the na­tion’s elect­ing its first fe­male pres­i­dent.

“It would let women and young girls see that you can reach for the stars,” said Tanya McAllister, 40, of Ti­mo­nium, the con­troller at an area staffing firm.

That sen­ti­ment, though, was tem­pered by her lin­ger­ing con­cerns over Clin­ton’s us­ing a pri­vate server for her emails, the sub­ject of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that kept pop­ping up as late as last week. And yet, she said, the idea of Trump as pres­i­dent was worse.

“The face of the coun­try is at stake,” she said.


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