This was never going to end well.
We had passed the point of harmony, grace and respect a long time ago — only to watch them replaced by acrimony and bile. No matter how Tuesday night’s election ended, we were going to be doomed to name-calling, back-biting and the distinct possibility of friendships and family bonds lost.
Many people who voted for Hillary Clinton are upset with Tuesday’s results — and that should come as a surprise to no one. Anyone who voted for Donald Trump and says they would not have been bitter had their chosen candidate lost to Clinton Tuesday probably isn’t being very honest with himself or herself.
I’m certain there are quite a few Hillary Clinton supporters who have vowed never to support our new president-elect. I’m guessing those who say that is nothing more than sour grapes and childish antics are many of the same people who have spent the past eight years firmly stating how opposed they are to our current president.
Like it or not, folks, this is what the state of politics — like to many other things in this country — has come to. It’s no longer about winning with grace or losing with dignity. It seems like it’s about winning at all costs and destroying your opponent and his or her supporters on one side; refusing to acknowledge the cold, hard truth in defeat.
How else are we supposed to act? Look at the way the candidates — not just in the presidential election, but in smaller races up and down the ballot — conducted themselves throughout this most recent election campaign. It became painful so painful to watch that many had given up on caring who wins by the end and just wanted it to be over.
How many of us voted for “the lesser of two evils?”
How many of us “couldn’t really support who I voted for, but at least it wasn’t the other one?”
Perhaps the only thing we agreed upon by the time the election finally wrapped up Tuesday was that our country has never been more divided in our lifetimes. Sadly, we cannot even agree to disagree and move with our lives. Less than 48 hours removed from the polls closing, the sniping continues.
It’s got to stop. Now. Not tomorrow. Not in January. Not four years from now when we get a chance to reaffirm what we already believe or we get the opportunity to change things once again.
It has to stop now. The people have spoken and this is the choice we have made, for better (which none or us can rule out yet, seeing as how the president-elect hasn’t made a single decision yet) or for worse (which we also cannot rule out). What kind of president will Donald Trump be? I don’t know … and I don’t have any control over that.
What I do have, however — and what all of us as Americans have control over — is what kind of country we become moving forward. We can continue to try to move forward and bridge the gaps that threaten to tear as all asunder once and for all, or we can let ourselves sink deeper into the mire.
The fact of the matter remains that on Tuesday night, we elected a president; we did not anoint a king. Ultimately, Donald Trump will have a major impact upon how we live our lives, but ultimately we have the final say in the ultimate direction of our nation. It’s been that way for several hundred years now.
Do we continue to hold onto the old grudges that were only exacerbated in the ugliest campaign in history, or do we put those aside and try to move forward?
No one man is great than — and one woman would have been greater than — the United States of America itself. We have fallen on hard times under great presidents and we have rebuilt our nation under less-than-stellar presidents. Whomever is living in the White House does not have the power to define who we are as individuals are as a country as a whole.
That is up to us. We must continue to do all we can to make sure the United States continues to hold its place as the greatest nation in the world. We owe that much to ourselves and to one another, regardless of what our political ideologies may be.
Much more than that, we owe it to our children and our children’s children.
God bless America.
Troy’s very own David Fong appears on Thursdays in the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong