In the aftermath of a presidential campaign that has left a trail littered with verbal insults, lofty promises, scandalous claims, and Leninian like propagandizing, we now seem poised on the brink of prolonged indifference and intolerance of those who we consider different or as outsiders.
Smoldering emotions of affection and aversion linger depending on one’s allegiance to the victor and vanquished. Will these last, or dissipate? The answer resides in us, individually and collectively.
For us, a country grounded in tolerance, accommodation, and civility, partisan political loyalties have revealed weaknesses in our national unity, in the treasured harmony of our multicultural, multiethnic society. We cannot ignore, or deny, the reality that this nation was built – and still being built – by people from diverse corners of the world.
Undoubtedly, this year’s presidential politicking has inflicted emotional wounds of varying depths within the minds of the voting electorate. The insults, and counter-insults, seem to have rocked the core principles of democracy and civility, inciting some into displaying varying degrees of indifference, and even hatred. Many have withdrawn from political discourse in efforts to shield themselves from angry verbal attacks, if not open threats.
If past presidential elections aftermaths are valid indicators, the hope is that the electorate will refocus their energies on improving their daily lives, gradually distancing themselves from the divisive rhetoric of campaign politics.
It is almost certain that some would seek to exploit the seeds of mistrust and divisiveness sewn along the campaign path. Hopefully, the rational resiliency of the population, which has under-gone many tests before, will once again arise to overcome and normalize hateful indifferences. But, can we as a nation fully recover from the distrust instilled during the campaign? The answer most likely would be revealed in the months ahead.
If we are to draw one simple lesson from this year’s presidential politics, it is that the growing multicultural variations of our nation can be easily exploited to generate fear and suspicion of each other. This begs the question. If we are distrustful of each other, can we truly reunite as one indivisible and just nation under GOD, as our Pledge of Allegiance reminds us all? The answer seems to reside in our very diversity. While we may be socially, economically and culturally different, we are interdependent human citizens of the world’s greatest democracy.
Hence, it would be advantageous for us to start the healing process and spirit of cooperation through continuous dialogue that would shatter the boundaries of ignorance regarding race, ethnicity, gender, faith, ideologies, nationalities etc. A wait and see approach would not change the election of someone as President every four years. In fact, no matter who serves as the President, social and economic inequality would not disappear or change overnight.
Politicians will continue to create indifference and walk away, leaving their supporters to heal the divides political campaigns and party loyalty create. In the aftermath, it is the very supporters who must shoulder the burden of whether to ride a tidal wave of indifference and hate that will ultimately intensify hostility, or tap the humane within themselves to forge a path of healing that leads to harmony and progress of all.