Now that it’s over, time to heal

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

To­day, as you read this ed­i­to­rial, the elec­tion re­sults have al­ready poured in and — we hope, but don’t to­tally as­sume — clear vic­tors have emerged at the polls. We’ll bring you more in-depth cov­er­age of the elec­tion in our Fri­day edi­tion.

But while lo­cal races are in­deed im­por­tant and im­pact many of us right here where we live, we aren’t blind to the fact that pres­i­den­tial elec­tions draw the most vot­ers to the polls. And this year, that seemed to be truer than ever.

The year 2016 proved an in­escapably volatile fight for the pres­i­dency. Scan­dals re­gard­ing both ma­jor party can­di­dates, Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton and Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump, dom­i­nated news headlines ev­ery­where we looked. Be­tween Clin­ton’s FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion of her emails and Trump’s sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions, and scru­tiny re­gard­ing both their char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tions, we the peo­ple found our­selves at times jaded and trapped in a hot po­lit­i­cal mess.

Out­side of this elec­tion, and in many ways a di­rect re­flec­tion of it, we re­main a na­tion strongly di­vided.

Racial ten­sions, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing a re­cent na­tional spot­light on po­lice bru­tal­ity, are high right now. Is­sues of im­mi­gra­tion and al­low­ing Syr­ian refugees into the coun­try have deep­ened the di­vide, fur­ther fu­eled by two po­lar op­po­site pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates. And with this, there’s a war, prob­a­bly best viewed on our so­cial me­dia pages, be­tween Amer­i­cans who be­lieve sen­si­tive di­a­logue is the best so­lu­tion to seal­ing th­ese crevices and those who as­sert po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness has been taken to un­nec­es­sary ex­tremes.

Mil­len­ni­als are an­gry, feel­ing cheated by the gen­er­a­tions who came be­fore them, while Baby Boomers feel just as slighted, scared that So­cial Se­cu­rity and pen­sion ben­e­fits could be ripped from them at any mo­ment in an econ­omy that, even when on the grad­ual mend, Amer­i­cans seem to have lost faith in. And both groups are bit­ter about their health care.

Po­lit­i­cal mid­dle ground ap­pears to be fad­ing, as strict con­ser­va­tive voices loudly de­nounce lib­eral poli­cies that make them feel like they’re slowly los­ing the United States they once knew and be­lieved in — while at the same time, grow­ing minority groups like Mus- lims, His­pan­ics and LGBT ci­ti­zens feel alien­ated by this kind of talk and, more so than ever, are less afraid to say so.

So, where do we go from here, Amer­ica?

No doubt, this new pres­i­dent now has a lot of work to do to mend our dys­func­tional family of states. That won’t be easy, as no mat­ter the out­come, the los­ing can­di­date’s sup­port­ers are al­most cer­tain to give them hell in the weeks, months and four years ahead. And be­yond the ex­ec­u­tive branch, there re­mains an equally po­lar­ized Congress. Bridg­ing the wide gap caused by this ex­treme level of po­lar­ity won’t hap­pen overnight. But we hope it does hap­pen.

We hope this new pres­i­dent will lis­ten to the con­cerns of all th­ese dif­fer­ent groups of Amer­i­cans, try to find some kind of com­mon ground and show, more than tell, that they are will­ing to work to­ward so­lu­tions that im­prove the lives of ev­ery­one they serve, not just those who elected them.

And we hope the Amer­i­can peo­ple can come to­gether and lis­ten to each other as well. To those whose can­di­date won the elec­tion: Know this vic­tory isn’t go­ing to solve all of our coun­try’s problems. That will take time and co­op­er­a­tion in th­ese con­stantly evolv­ing United States.

To those who are up­set by the elec­tion’s out­come: Find so­lace in know­ing this was merely one bat­tle of pol­icy ideals. Keep voic­ing your con­cerns, let our newly elected lead­ers know you’re un­happy and urge them to keep all their con­stituents in mind th­ese next four years. Af­ter that time, you’ll have a chance to cast your vote again. That’s what keeps this whole elec­toral ma­chine pump­ing. That’s the beauty of Amer­ica.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.