Two days from now, Americans finally will be able to come up for air after drowning for the past several months in political hyperbole, angry rhetoric and an onslaught of exaggerated campaign promises.
Tuesday is Election Day, and there will be candidates who survive and candidates who should politely accept defeat. We hope that after the ballots are counted, our community, the state and our country can leave the campaign battles behind and continue on in a civil manner.
We need to move away from the ugliness and contempt that seems to have taken over too many political conversations. Perhaps social media is exacerbating the vitriol, but there is no denying that an undercurrent of frustration and bitterness is upsetting millions of people.
The person who disagrees with you — or who votes differently — is not your enemy. That’s not how this nation works.
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But this reasonable sentiment seems to have gotten lost in the minds and hearts of too many Americans, along with the talent for civil discourse.
Part of that, undoubtedly, is because of how the presidential race has played out.
We have said previously that Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are seriously flawed candidates, and we are dismayed not to have a better choice for president this year.
It may be a close race, it may be a contested race, or the winner may be obvious. We won’t know until after all the votes are counted.
However, we do know one of them will be the new president. Whoever it is, it will be crucial that he or she tries to unite our polarized country.
It will take time, certainly. Elections tend to intensify resentment and fear on the losing side. But that’s no reason for our nation’s new leader not to make the attempt. If the new Commander in Chief could care more about public policy than personal interests, that would be an encouraging step.
It is a shame our young people — especially those not old enough to vote but old enough to understand the significance of the election — have been witness to one of the most distasteful presidential races in recent memory.
Part of the blame for that — in addition to the candidates themselves — is our two-party system, which has created and perpetuated a winner-take-all mentality that is not healthy.
Compromise and cooperation are more important when trying to improve the country. Gridlock accomplishes nothing, yet we see it far too often.
And it isn’t just on the national stage.
There are important races to be determined at the state and local level this Tuesday as well. The governor and several state legislative races will be decided, as will several statewide initiatives.
We spent the past several weeks making political recommendations, and for those who have yet to vote, you can check out our analysis at the Tri-City Herald website.
For those of you who already have voted, do your part when the ballots are counted — realize the campaigns are over and accept the outcome graciously.
When the election is finished, we need to come back together as a community and as a country and move on.