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OUR VIEW: Waking up on Wednesday morning

It’s the day after election day, and if you’re reading this, the world hasn’t ended. 

Your coffee is just as hot, your daily tasks are just as demanding and, most likely, an old white man is still the President of the United States. 

The last year has been the most tumultuous in our lifetime, there’s no doubt. The pandemic drove everyone inside and cries for social justice sparked the flames of protest. People have died – far too many. With our in-person communication becoming nonexistent, we became more polarized than ever and further separated from our neighbors. 

Things got nasty, as accusations of racism and communism and bigotry and socialism marred our interactions with others. People cut off entire branches of their families, isolated themselves from friend groups. They exercised their right to free speech – as we all should – and in some cases, the consequences were dire for their interpersonal relationships. 

In short, if America was a pot on the stove, it was poised to boil over on election day.  

So, the morning after, ask yourself: was my behavior worth it? Did I make politics my idol? What have I lost in my life, and what have I gained? 

Looking around at the aftermath of the election battleground, one that was taken to extremes never before seen, what have we sacrificed? Were you making your own voice heard, or simply speaking loud enough to drown out anyone else? Did you know there was a difference in the two? 

If the hateful words we spewed on social media in the name of ‘preserving democracy’ were strewn about, if they were scattered on the sidewalks, in yards and in the ditches, could you wade through them?  

Would you hold on to your prideful claims that your side was right and the other was wrong, or would you finally see that we’re all working together as Americans, no matter the election outcome? 

When the last sign is plucked from the last yard, when the banners no longer wave on the side of the highway, when you peel the coveted “I Voted” sticker off your jacket, what is left of you, of those you love? 

Waking up on Wednesday morning and going about your day, will you be able to look your neighbor in the eye?