Why Those Who Can’t Wait For the Election To Be Over Are Wrong

We need to have a discussion of how November 8 is important, but if you think that all of the anger, hatred, distrust, suspicion and even violence simply evaporates that day, you need to think again. And the reason we need to have a talk about this is that getting past the damage that has been done this election requires YOU (and me) to take action. Both left and right, we must stand up, be counted, and become the change we want to see.

First of all, barring any more October surprises, Trump is going to lose. It won’t be the resounding loss some might hope for a man who, at 59 years old, bragged about sexually assaulting women and then excused it as youthful hijinx, but the direction is clear according to 538, Republican strategists and pollsters.

So, is it over? Can we sit back, breathe a sigh of relief and wait for things to return to normal? If you think that, you have not been paying attention. We see raging distrust where facts aren’t just discounted but openly scorned. We see people using the most heinous of slurs and threats openly, emboldened by leaders who rail against common decency (A/K/A political correctness). We see the guidance of people who’ve spent their lives studying science, economics and foreign policy mocked by armchair pundits educated by reality TV and biased websites.

Over?! This is just beginning. The question is whether or not we merely continue the debate in a relatively civil manner or whether it spins out of control. If you think losing an election ends anything, you need to study Germany in 1928.

This isn’t over until YOU say it’s over. It isn’t up to someone else. It isn’t Hillary’s or Donald’s job. It isn’t Congress’s. You. You need to say it’s over.

Until decent people stand up and say facts are facts, it isn’t over. Unless men stand up and demand we stop excusing casual acceptance of rape and women stand up and say their daughters deserve respect rather than to be rated on their attractiveness, groped and called pigs, it isn’t over. It’s not over until we see refugees of violence as people, not threats. Or until we see real changes implemented to policing. Or until the gun laws most Americans want are enacted. Or until people of all faiths get their Constitutionally protected rights.

And this is everyone’s job. On the left, we need to be more magnanimous. We’re winning the war on marriage equality, women’s rights to choose, and (slowly) equal pay. What that means is if some tiny little bakery wants to refuse to make a cake, we can go the damn bakery next door to give it our money. When a courthouse clerk or judge refuses to follow the law, we must stand up and shout, but let’s stop making a federal case out of every small-minded person who says or does something that offends us but otherwise leaves us unharmed.

And Democrats must also realize that, despite being the party of the middle class and the American worker, too many of them don’t trust us — we need to change the economic conversation. The fact that a hundred million people concerned about the deficit are about to vote for a man who would add $10 trillion to it says we have failed to make our case.

And on the right, too many good people are silent. Earlier this week, I mentioned several of my evangelical friends took me to task for implying they are all alike and voting for Trump. I was unfair, but here’s the thing — I checked their Facebook threads and NONE of them have said a word about Trump. They’ll tell me privately they oppose him, but they are silent publicly on the matter. Maybe they don’t think Facebook is the right venue and maybe they are vocal in their churches, I don’t know, but I do know that unless people of faith stand up and tell others who worship as they do how they stand, this cannot be over.

And my politically conservative friends have been content to lecture those on the left how they should talk to Trump supporters rather than put stakes in the ground themselves. They’ve preferred to complain how terrible both candidates are rather than to criticize their own nominee. Enough. Both candidates are not equally terrible, and you know it. If you want your party back — the sane party of Bush 1 and Reagan (and who the hell would think I’d ever say that?) — then use your voice. Stop bemoaning the general state of the election and start publicly declaring what you want your party to do to pull itself out of the muck, appeal to a multi-cultural America and leave behind the racism, misogyny and religious intolerance that has been unleashed from within your own party.

We all must get vocal and do things with which we might not be comfortable, but if we really want this — whatever this is — to be over, it’s not going to happen because you shuffled your feet and remained silent.

It is time to put America before our party affiliations. That demands actions from all of us.

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