Strange days, indeed

Published 4:56 pm Monday, November 7, 2016

Today is the day. A new president, a new direction for the country, will be decided in the coming hours.

It’s about time.

Seventeen months is too long. For nearly a year and a half, the American public, regardless of whether one exercises the right to vote has been bombarded with a constant stream of advertising for this candidate or that candidate. TV watchers have been immersed in pool of negativity, in which advertisers don’t so much tell viewers why they should vote for a particular candidate, but disparage the opposing candidate. Unless voters have excused themselves from TV-watching, radio-listening and any kind of social media activity, they have been forced for inordinately long period of time to wallow in the muck of political advertising.

It’s no wonder that most Americans believe that the country is bad off, when viewers, readers and listeners are told that’s the case every day. Hear, read or watch it long enough and it becomes fact. Negativity becomes ingrained.

Limitations need to be set on when the election season begins, because essentially all have been ready for this election to be over for quite a while. The American public is burned out on politics, which further fuels the apathy many have toward politicians and government in general.

This election has been one of the most divisive in history. Its ugliness has seeped into daily life; into interactions with family, friends and complete strangers. A line long ago drawn in the sand seems to have become a gaping chasm in which it seems there is no hope of the political parties working together to do what’s best for the country and its many diverse citizens.

It’s a shame that compromise is now seen as a weakness, instead of a strength. It’s a shame that the sides can be so dismissive of one another. It’s a shame that American politics lack nuance and the recognition that there are many shades between black and white.

As this long slog through the election season ends tonight, let every voter do his part — not only by voting, but by making a better effort to bridge the gap between one side and another. Let local politicians come out of this cycle willing to work together to do what’s best for the residents of Beaufort County, even if their counterparts in the “big” Washington can’t seem to do the same.