It’s been a long 8 months since the first primary caucus. For some it’s felt more like 2 years. A lot of energy has been poured into supporting platforms, cheering on candidates, and convincing others of our viewpoints. Anecdotally, it seems that this election has been more fueled by passion, caused more rifts, and will have more repercussions then others. The roles of the citizenry of the United States over the past few months have been clear: engage, make a choice, vote. This brings me to the one question I’ve been pondering all day: What happens tomorrow?
By the end of this evening and the coming dawn, there will have been an election, and very possibly a certified winner. There will surely be people who are sad and those who are rejoicing. Anger, pain, and a general sense of having been tossed through a fight will be likely remnants. We will wake up to a landscape of a people divided, and what will we do?
I want to think that we will be able to return to the way things were before the race began, or at least before the most recent round of name-calling. I want to think that we will be able to see the political transfer of power for what it is, no more and no less. I want to think that the division will slowly close. As much as I want, I don’t think time itself will heal this one.
It will be up to us.
Not all of us, unfortunately, will have felt the division so keenly, or understand what cultural fibers have been torn during this most recent maylay. No, it will be up to those of us who have most deeply felt the division as an affront to a cohesive social fabric to engage in a new, most formidable, role. We must take on the task of bridging the divide. We must become mediators.
We will engage in conversation with people holding diverse views and perspectives. We will learn from them and share what we’ve learned with others. In the most powerful moments we will be there when fellow humans, once divided by party and politics, will learn again to talk with one another – not to each other or at each other, but with each other. Too many times has someone else dictated the framework of the conversations we are to have with one another. With respect and genuine curiosity, we can reclaim this area of public discourse. We can remind ourselves of the power each of us has to affect the world around us no matter how large. In willing to be the fulcrum upon which perspectives can shift we offer ourselves for the sake of our neighbor. For the sake of a healthy, vibrant, and connected community we make safe spaces to gather. Our engagement will be for the our own sake as well as all those around us, and we will need everyone.
This is my answer. When I wake up tomorrow this will be my motivation.
If this resonates with you, let me know. If you have another constructive thought, I want to hear it! We need as many solutions as we can get.