Now that it’s over, time to heal
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.