The election is over. What now?
We recommend a retreat into amnesia. Let’s all forget who supported Clinton and who supported Trump. Now is the time to put politics aside and take a breather after such an arduous campaign year.
Remember Mr. Rogers’ theme song: “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood. Won’t you be my neighbor?”
Take the couple across the street in your neighborhood. We’ll call them the Smiths. They’ve always been good neighbors, and you have reciprocated their friendship. When you were in the hospital, Mr. Smith mowed your lawn. When the Smiths were traveling for a month, you watered their plants and kept an eye on their home.
Then, earlier this year, you planted your Clinton yard sign. And the Smiths pierced Mother Earth with their Trump sign. In your mind, they became supporters of a would-be American Mussolini. And in the Smith’s mind, you assumed the role of co-conspirator in the crimes of Crooked Hillary.
All of a sudden, politics trumped all past neighborliness.
We don’t know what lies ahead in Washington, D.C. We predict the partisan divide that has gripped the nation during eight years of Obama will continue apace. We don’t see the parties kissing and making up.
Here in Denton, we can’t do anything about this poisonous political atmosphere. But we can make sure that neighborliness trumps politics in the months ahead.
As individuals, we are not single-minded. We are pluralistic, meaning we are interested in more than one thing. The Smiths amount to more than the Trump sign in their yard. They are parents and grandparents. They are active church members. And you, their neighbor, have varied interests that range from playing softball to hiking in the Rockies.
We have to extricate ourselves from the creepy idea that everything should be viewed through a political lens. It leads to too much judging and too little tolerance.
Some people drive a gas-guzzling pickup that looks like Darth Vader engineered it. Others drive a compact electric-powered car. It’s not political. It’s preference.
Some people home-school their children. Others send the kids to public school. It’s not political. Parents do what’s best for their children.
Some people own guns. Others don’t. It’s not political.
This tendency to make everything political must change. If it doesn’t, we risk the destruction of the comity and civility that makes America exceptional.
Let Republicans and Democrats grind axes on behalf of their political agendas. Let them render harsh judgments on each other in tersely worded press releases.
Here in Denton, we can forget all that stuff. We need to find out what we can do to help our friends and make our neighborhoods great again.