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With election over, it’s time for unity again

ADVOCATE-MESSENGER

Editorial

The votes have finally been cast and the 2016 General Election is over.

We spent two years — half of a presidential term — building to this point by debating and arguing amongst ourselves.

We divided ourselves into two countries — one for Hillary and one for Donald, as well as significant forces of “neithers” and “others.”

Now it’s time to bring those divided countries back together as one. It’s time for respect, dignity and healing — three things we have had very little of recently.

Just as we have after previous elections, Americans must now rediscover their common ground — the reason we are a united nation and not a splintered group of states.

That task feels monumental right now, in the hours immediately after one of the harshest and angriest elections of our lifetimes. But reunifying is something we’ve proven we’re capable of. The country survived 1912, 2000 and 2008, among other contentious elections; we’ll survive again.

It helps to remember that a large chunk of election-year rhetoric is hyperbolic. Candidates who need votes will say a lot of things, but once the election ends and the governing begins, the two sides can find themselves closer together than they felt before.

The need for unity is the same at the state level as it is at the federal level. Republicans now control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office in Kentucky and no doubt will use that amassed power to enact legislation they find desirable.

Hopefully, they keep their eyes on the future success of their party even as they celebrate their immediate victories. If they can enact their agendas by bringing Democrats on-board, they’ll be that much stronger for it and more likely to maintain majorities in future elections.

At the local level, there is fortunately still a lot less hate and bile spilling out of campaigns.

Boyle County was largely devoid of negative campaigns, as the candidates focused on telling voters what they would do and why. This is how it ought to be at all levels of government — candidates should care more about representing their entire constituencies and less about denigrating their opponents.

Maybe someday, we’ll figure out how to hold elections at the national level that are as clean and honest as ones held at the local level.

Until then, we’ll just have to keep picking up the pieces afterward and finding a way back to peace — together.