This election has exposed a major rift in this country.
In past elections, however heated they may have been, there was at least some common ground. This election has replaced that common ground with an obstacle course of accusations, ad hominem attacks and angry social media posts.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both have record levels of unfavorability for presidential candidates in their respective parties.
The problem now isn’t who will win the election so much as it’s how we will cope with the divide that will be left in the election’s wake. No matter who wins, a large number of Americans are going to wake up angry on Nov. 9.
We’re going to have to find a way to live together. The volatile comments lobbed back and forth between Republicans and Democrats over the last 15 months make it hard to imagine the resolution will come easy.
Are Mexicans and Muslims going to be able to live comfortably in their neighborhoods knowing who, by supporting one candidate over another, would have supported keeping their families out of the United States? Are the white working class communities that struggle with joblessness, poor health and opioid addiction going to be able to find hope in the election of a candidate who dismissed them as deplorable?
Unless everyone who has threatened to leave the country if the candidate they oppose is elected actually follows through on their promise, they’re going to have to.
Much of this election cycle has been spent with liberals and conservatives talking past one another. There is a tendency to assume the opposing parties’ concerns are not valid and thus can be easily dismissed. If we assume we’re smarter than those we disagree with, it’s easy to feel our beliefs are superior.
We’ve taken solace in separation instead of unity. Social media has made it easy to remain in echo chambers where all the information we see reinforces our beliefs and prejudices. But we’re all in this together and isolating ourselves from one another is only going to leave us worse off.
Instead of talking past one another, we need to start talking to one another.
Both liberals and conservatives have many similar concerns. If we start communicating instead of isolating ourselves, maybe we can begin to find areas of agreement. Maybe the common ground will begin to resurface. Maybe we can build a bridge across the rift created by this election cycle.
Some things said during this election cycle might be hard to get past, but until we sit down and have those conversations, we won’t know if there’s a way forward.
The editorial board that writes editorials consists of the editor-in-chief, the managing editor, the copy editor, and the news editor. These opinion pieces are written separately from news articles. They draw on the opinions of the entire writing staff and do not reflect the opinions of any individual staff member. The Jambar’s business manager and non-writing staff do not contribute to editorials, and the advisor does not have final approval.