It looks like we’re going to elect the nation’s first woman president on Nov. 8.
Things could change between now and then, of course. Nothing is certain in this insane campaign.
Let’s say the polls hold, though, and Democrat Hillary Clinton defeats Republican Donald J. Trump.
If so, what’s going to happen on Nov. 9?
Set aside a repeat of Bush-Gore 2000, a protracted tangle of lawsuits and counter-suits and recounts. That’s possible, sure, but it’s more likely we’ll get the relative electoral landslide most polls seem to predict.
Certainly, we can expect a jubilant response from Clinton supporters. And I would again welcome the opportunity to use the results to teach our kids about how to reject and stand up to the bullying tactics, the naked bigotry, the rampant racism, the repugnant misogyny and the general indecency that has propelled the Trump campaign since Day One.
I don’t believe in shielding our kids entirely from the forces of conflict. We want them to “just be kids” for as long as possible, but that doesn’t mean we want to push them into the world ill prepared for its civic hazards.
More Of The Same?
During the campaign, our family kept the TV tuned to cable news and didn’t scramble to change the channel when an anti-Trump commercial popped up. My children watched with as much revulsion as my wife and I did when the TV showed him mocking a disabled reporter, or calling women names, or telling the people at his rallies that he’d like to punch a protester in the face.
The dark stirrings of the “us vs. them” mentality that permeated the Trump campaign echoes the era of segregation. Trump supporters want to “take our country back.” They want to “make America great again.” They seem to reject the social progress of the past five decades. They even reject basic facts.
Based on these revolting acts and hateful words, should we brace ourselves for more of the same if Clinton wins?
Will Trump supporters’ scowls deepen? Will their teeth grind? Will they carry through with the threat of violent revolution that some of them have made publicly?
Oh, they will be upset. This much is predictable.
I get it. There are valid reasons to stick with the Republican side that don’t have to do with Trump. Not every one of his supporters is a minion of the Alt-Right or a Breitbart acolyte, but Trump supporters either have embraced the angry rhetoric or they have chosen to ignore it.
But will all future political discussions be reduced to social media newsfeeds filled with name-calling or a fruitless back and forth of disconnected comments?
He’s a bigot!
She’s a liar!
He’s a groper!
Help The Country Heal
We talk past each other. No one is listening.
Truth is lost somewhere in the weeds.
Meanwhile, there are our kids, taking it all in.
What happens when it’s all over on Nov. 9?
I know this: I won’t forget what happened to our country the past 18-plus months. I won’t forget how the Republican side chose to nominate a man who embodies the opposite of everything I’m trying to teach my children about how to be a good person.
I will remember that there is a deplorable element in our country, and there are misguided people who believe they have been marginalized by an evolving society.
I won’t forget that, but I need to let it go.
I need to recognize that even some people I care about, deeply, are going to vote for that man. I need to find a way to understand that, and I need to move on.
We all do.
This is the lesson I want my sons to remember as we approach a post-2016 election world.
Come what may, we need to listen. We need to try to understand. We need to see the person behind the vote, behind the rage, behind the despair. We need to go high when they go low.
We need to do what we have to do to help the country heal.
Photo: JeepersMedia Trump Hillary Clinton Halloween masks at Spirit Halloween Shop 2016 via photopin (license)