Monday, November 7, 2016

Get Out “The” Vote

In less than 24 hours polls will be open in all 50 states and in less than 48 hours, with a little luck, we may even know who the president-elect will be. Then we can all put this election behind us and all be friends again. Or can we?

Two days ago I answered the door after hearing knocking on it. Outside, dressed in a distinctive light blue shirt was a member of Team Clinton. He said he was looking for the Democrat of the house. He glanced at the clipboard in his hand and gave her name. I let him know that she was not home and he inquired as to when he could return to talk to her. I let him know that it was doubtful that he would be able to arrange to see her prior to Tuesday's election. At which point, with a look of disdain, he gave me a postcard for her and stated that if she didn't know where to vote, what day to vote, when she could vote, or if she needed a ride to vote she could use the postcard to contact Team Clinton and turned and left.

As he went down the steps I thought but what about me. I, the owner of the car outside with the Gary Johnson for president bumper sticker outside, what if I didn't know where to vote. What if I didn't have a ride to the polls? He didn't even once offer the information to me. I am sure that I was on his clipboard too. I just didn't have the right letter next to my name. This man, who cared so much that the Democrat of the house made it to the polls, honestly didn't care if I made it to the polls. In fact, from the look on his face when talking to me, he probably would be happy if I didn't go at all.

It would be nice to think that this man dressed in light blue at my door had been just one overly fanatical person, however, he was not.

This has been the theme of this election, the worst election that I have ever witnessed in my life. It is likely if you have publicly announced that you are voting for Hillary Clinton that at least one person has called you a “Libtard.” It is likely if you have publicly announced that you are voting for Donald Trump that at least one person has called you a “racist.” And it is likely that if you have publicly announced that you are voting for any third party or independent candidate that you personally are responsible for the Armageddon that is sure to follow this election.

While it is easy to attack these people for their hatred the biggest problem is this virulence comes all the way from the top in this election.

Donald Trump gleefully announcing “In the good ol' days, they'd have ripped him out of that seat so fast.' 'Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously, OK just knock the hell — I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise,” while talking about a protester at a rally.

Hillary Clinton, not to be outdone, stated at a gala, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.”

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have shown extreme animosity toward each other in ways I don't believe have ever been shown before in an election in my time, especially by any “mainstream” candidate. They refused to shake each other's hands at the second debate or third presidential debates. They even turned the usually light-hearted and fun annual Al Smith charity dinner into a continuation of the animosity. This contempt for the opposing candidate and their supporters has gone down through the ranks and can be seen on any general day on the various social media sites available.

How do we now expect, in less than 48 hours from now, for this growing antipathy for anyone who belongs to a different political group than you to just dissipate into the air?

Especially when both “mainstream” candidates have given their supporters reason to challenge the election results. Donald Trump has stated, “They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths, where so many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is all too common,” describing Democrats. Hillary Clinton has stated, “It’s pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election. In fact, it’s not just strange; it’s unprecedented and it is deeply troubling.”

Each one charging their legion of supporters to question the results of the election should he or she lose. No matter who wins this election, the animosity toward the opposing candidate will continue after the election that will make the George W. Bush and Al Gore election results from 2000 look like a friendly social dinner. And if you think the rancor to third party or independent candidate voters will cease I am afraid you will be gravely mistaken. Both sides will blame this group of voters for allowing the other candidate to steal the election.

Somehow, though, we the people, just put this animosity toward each other aside. Not with the help of the politicians, as they want us a divided nation, but because we are all in this together. The government is supposed to work for the people, all the people. Not just the people of one ideology. And right now it is the opposite. We the people are justifying that our government, all sides of it, remain at a stalemate which hurts us the people.

On Tuesday, go out and vote for the candidate you believe in. And then after, shake the hand of a supporter of another candidate, be it a Donald Trump supporter, a Hillary Clinton supporter, a Gary Johnson supporter, an Evan McMullin supporter, or a Jill Stein supporter. Start healing the nation because if we continue this divide, we will eventually reach a point where there can be no reconciliation. And if we ever reach that point, it is us as a nation who have lost for there are no winners in a divided nation. Only losers.

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