Well our great election for this messed up year is trying to wind down. How it will end in a formal way remains to be seen. The pandering, posturing and politicking show no sign of resolution. We will watch that take its painful and divisive course and hope sanity sometime emerges from the shadow. We fear that could be a long wait.
But we have turned the corner of the process in our neck of the woods, completing our local elections and contributing our official opinions to the national dialogue.
First, we commend you on that. Tens of thousands of you showed up to vote during this election cycle. So many of you voted early or by mail, and you expanded the power of your voices. Whether or not your candidates won may frustrate or elate, but the fact you did your job should make you proud.
We also have to salute our registrars’ offices, which handled this newly structured process without any known problems or backlogs or snafus. Those who managed the voting did a great job. And we appreciate that professionalism.
Expanded voting is a great idea. If you are frustrated by its effect in other states, maybe you should realize Virginia did this better than those states. You had a long window to vote and a simple process to do so by mail. And those responsible for counting votes were able to count before the last minute had passed. So celebrate that, too.
You spoke up and decided a casino is a good idea for Danville. We won’t know how that plays out, but this could be a life-changing decision. Many of you supported Bob Good, the candidate who will represent you in Congress. At least some of you got your man.
But all of that said, we now have a new responsibility to fulfill: We have to find a way to unite and to heal.
How will you contribute to that? How will you take the landscape of the future and navigate it for the greater good of society, for the betterment of your community, for the health and wellbeing of democracy?
Because the divisiveness that has brewed for the past several years — maybe the past decade — has been fanned and fueled by vitriolic and irresponsible voices that to be quieted.
We can’t continue to spin down that drain as we have been — even in the past 72 hours — and not expect democracy and society to end up in the septic tank.
You may not agree with your neighbor on how the pandemic has been handled or how the economy should be managed — although there is a greater effect on that locally than nationally — or the size of government or taxation or how many guns you can own or, especially, the rights of women and children.
But surely we all can unite to realize our children and grandchildren need a healthy planet that will survive their lives, we need to protect and help those who can’t help and protect themselves and our greatest brains need to be unleashed on how things might be and not entranced with how things were when we were children.
Surely we can agree all people are created equal, regardless of gender, race, nationality or even sexual orientation. Surely we can respect our neighbor and not simply attack him or her because of a bumper sticker or campaign sign or a certain colored cap.
Because if we can’t, then none of that will happen. Our planet will burn up, our society will die out and we will end up in a confrontational scenario that feels more like 1860 than 2060.
So what will you do? How will you help?
Can you find a way to listen first and argue second? Can you find a way to reach out with the kindness of an open palm and not a balled fist?
Can you help us stop the spread of the coronavirus until science can catch up and provide us a chemical tool to do so?
Can you realize that sensitivity some bemoan as “political correctness” is simply just caring about the feelings of others?
We can’t tell you how to act or react, but we can encourage what we see and what you do that helps.
These next days, weeks, months and years will dictate and diagram how we want to be as a society. Each of us can contribute.
So what will you do?