By Marty Russell
Well, the election is finally over, at least we hope. As I’m writing this on Tuesday I don’t have a clue as to who won or if we even know at this point who the winner is. Doesn’t matter. It’s time to support whichever candidate came out on top.
For most of us, that’s easy to do. Most of us realize that a presidential candidate can promise anything they want during the campaign but, once elected, they still have to face that brick wall known as Congress to actually implement anything. So we tend to vote along ideological lines knowing that nothing is really likely to change. We just like one team’s colors better than the other’s.
It’s like football, especially here in the South. You’re either a State fan or an Ole Miss fan, and we show our support for our chosen team by showing up for the games sporting our side’s logos, mocking the opposition and pulling for our side to win. But when it’s over and your team loses, what do we say? We say wait until next year and go on about our lives. The world hasn’t suddenly come to an end, and no one forces us to change sides, just to accept the outcome and start planning for next season which, in the case of presidential elections, unfortunately, will probably start this afternoon.
But I fear that we’re losing that ability to agree to disagree. We’re becoming so polarized as a nation that we can no longer accept losing and will go to any lengths to win or to obstruct the winner if we lose. It’s our way or the highway, and we’re no longer willing to even listen to what the other side has to say. I’ve actually known friends, and even family members, who no longer speak to each other because they supported different candidates in the election, people who have “unfriended” people on Facebook because they posted something in support of another candidate. Some “friend.”
That just ain’t right. Even football players shake hands with opposing teammates after the game, regardless of who won or lost. It’s called sportsmanship, another word for civility, which is something sorely missing in today’s politics and the reason we have so much gridlock in the political process. No one is willing to reach across the aisle and shake the other side’s hand because that would be seen as a sign of weakness or defeat.
It’s time to wake up and realize that no one of us or one political philosophy has all the answers. If you think you’re right and your way is the only way, chances are you’re wrong, even if others think the same thing. The best solutions come from considering all viewpoints. So support our new president, whoever he may be. As someone once said, it’s impossible to think and hit someone at the same time.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.