The 2016 campaign year seemed drawn out to the point of being painful; no election in recent memory has been this contentious, nor presented candidates quite so polarising. Long before we knew the outcome, it was clear that a significant part of the country would be very angry after the election. Now that the votes have all been counted, how can America begin to heal?
1. Let’s begin by not assigning blame. There’s plenty to go around. From the media, to the candidates, to overzealous supporters. It seems everyone played a role in fanning the flames of division. But pointing the finger of blame won’t change the outcome. It will only prolong the pain.
2. Try to understand the other side. This is more difficult because wounds are still fresh. But at the core, we are all Americans seeking good jobs, stronger security, and a better world for our kids. How that is accomplished is where roads lead in opposite directions. Understanding may lead to common ground.
3. Be willing to have a dialogue. There must be conversations in homes, schools, churches and neighbourhoods. Don’t write off people who don’t agree with you or didn’t vote the way you did. Don’t shout and argue, but ask serious questions and give honest answers. Shutting each side out is only going to make things worse.
4. Push political leaders to lead by example. Voters need to hear comforting words from the president-elect to local politicians. They want reassurances that the rancor of the past should in no way be part of the future. Keep their feet to the fire. Healing has to start at the top.
In order for this country to heal, people need to respect each other, find room for tolerance, and reject hatred.
It won’t be easy and there may be setbacks, but who really wants to live with the alternative for the next few years?