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"So . . . That Happened"

Justin Kiska

(12/2016) I consider myself to be a betting man. Had you asked me on November 7th to place a wager on who would be elected our next president . . . well, letís just say, if I had taken the bet, I would have lost everything. The result of last monthís presidential election just goes to show that until the votes are cast, no one really knows how anything will turn out.

No matter what the polls and pundits say, the people are the ones who get to have the final say. When we forget that, and it happens more often than one would think, the voters have a way of reminding us whoís really in charge.

Now that the votes have been cast though, what do we all do now? This election was without question the nastiest, most divisive in my lifetime. However, there were some presidential races in the 1800s that still take the cake for being worse. Hard to believe, I know. But our country survived after those campaigns and it will again. The United States is more resilient and can withstand a lot more than a contentious election.

Iím not saying there isnít some serious healing that needs to happen. Things were said and done on all sides for which people have a right to be angry and for which many should be ashamed. As a nation though, we have proven time and time again that we can disagree but in the end, we all come back together for the good of the country. I am hoping that is what will happen again.

The only way for this to happen, is for everyone to have the chance to be heard and listened to. We all think the side of an issue weíre on is right. But the people who disagree with us and are on the other side of the issue think theyíre right. Could we both be right? Could we both be wrong? The only way to find out is to respect the fact that there are differences of opinions and different beliefs and have an open and honest conversation about everything.

Not everything is as black and white as we would like it to be. Weíre living in a very grey world right now and have to accept that fact if we ever have a hope to accomplish anything. There has to be some give-and-take at times and an understanding that no one will ever get everything they want.

Sometimes it is hard to understand how some people can think the way they do or believe what they do, but their beliefs need to be considered just as valid as our own. Thatís not to say I donít find some peopleís words and actions to be repugnant and when they cross the line and begin breaking laws or harming others, then itís a completely different story. What frustrates me are the people shouting that they need to be heard when they arenít willing to listen to anyone else.

This election upset a lot of people. I watched as friends became enemies and family members stopped talking to one another. Personally, I blame social media for exacerbating the vitriol. As someone who does not use Facebook, I was spared most of what Iíve heard others went through and am still talking to all my friends. And some of those friends and I are polar opposite and saw this election through very different lenses. But weíve been able to talk about it and agree on some things and remain on opposite sides of other issues. They key is, weíre still talking and willing to listen to the other side and not just walk away and say, "Youíre wrong, I canít talk to you."

Maybe Iím too optimistic, but I do think things will be alright and our country will come together again. We can learn from this election and move forward stronger than before.

Being that we are now coming up on the holidays, even for just the next few weeks, I hope everyone takes the time to relax and enjoy the season. Let the anger and frustration go for just a little while. Spend time with your friends and family. Everyone just needs a break for a little while and some time to decompress.

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