Our nation has endured much in its first 240 years. We have survived a devastating and divisive Civil War. We have dealt with heart wrenching wars that have taken a toll on our families and youth. We were overwhelmed by a great depression. We have self-corrected our misdeeds like slavery and woman’s suffrage. And yes, we have overcome weak, ineffective, and corrupt presidents.
We, the people of the United States, have worked from our beginning “to form a more perfect Union”, and on November 9th we will continue to do so, no matter the outcome of this presidential election.
Will a majority of the country dislike the next president? Yes! Gallup polling last week shows a country divided. Americans view both candidates with high unfavorable ratings. Hillary’s unfavorable rating is 56% and Donald is at 68%, these are records for presidential candidates.
We, the people, have been deprived of leadership at the national level. It has lacked the ability to work across the aisle to achieve results. The political fringes bubble up a more extremist ideology during elections. Governing requires working to achieve success for the majority – not the fringe. To accomplish this, leaders need to work together. Leaders must begin solving problems by finding areas where both sides can agree on the main solution and hammer out the details through compromise.
From day one, either President Clinton or President Trump will be immensely unpopular and as such have a terrific opportunity to heal the wounds of negative discord throughout the nation. It will be up to the new president as well as us, the citizens, to begin the healing.
The new president must deliver inclusive leadership and a bipartisan compromising agenda that finds common ground between the Congress and the White House. A recent poll from Quinnipiac University noted that three out of four likely voters said it was “very important” that the next president unite the nation. We are a divided nation, but like the phoenix bird we will rise from the ashes of this divisive, bitter and mostly ugly campaign. After all, it is what we Americans want.
We may need daily reminders of civility. We must respect others whose way of life and views may be in conflict with our own. Opposing viewpoints are blessings that expand our horizons, create balance and can even reaffirm our own beliefs. Someone once said, “The more I know, the less I understand”. It is an anomaly, but ironically holds much truth.
On November 9th we all need to come together by being part of the solution. Citizens need to put the political axe aside and use the olive branch to participate in the governing process as vigorously as they participated in the political process. There is a wonderful quote by James Baldwin, “Civilizations are not ended by wicked people – they are actually ended by the spineless.” Beginning the day after the election we need to do the hard job. We need to have a spine and affect change by our participation – or we are doomed to be governed by wicked people.
I will not be spineless – I choose to participate in our republic. The question is, will you?