Let’s Take a Breath, Shall We?

Creative Commons photo by Mariana Heinz

To hear the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tell it, voting for the right candidate will bring peace, sunshine, happiness and rainbows, while casting a ballot for the wrong person will unleash the fires of the pit of Hades itself.

A bit of hyperbole, but nothing new to be sure. Some of the rhetoric reminds me of a Y2K-themed Nike commercial [for our younger followers, Y2K was something we worried about before we knew computers were our friends and would do nothing to harm us (*cough* Wikileaks)].

But, guess what?  It is highly doubtful that either North Korea or Russia will announce its intention to blow us off the face of the map as soon as one of the two take the oath of office. And whether you will be among the million or so spectators on The Mall witnessing the 45 President of the United States being sworn in or you are watching the festivities from the warmth of your home or office, all we should want is what we have enjoyed when every new president has taken office: a peaceful transition of power.

Yes, there are difficult challenges ahead for the next resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but we’re not going to have rioting in the streets. We often think the person in the Oval Office makes all the decisions, but it’s helpful to remember its next occupant will have nearly 3 million federal employees, most of whom work from administration to administration, tasked with keeping the lights on and doors open. They are dedicated to making sure the country runs smoothly no matter who’s in charge.

Going into the election, polls show about half of Americans like Trump and the other half prefer Clinton, with a few percentage points for minor party candidates. And no matter who is elected, at least half of the country won’t be happy about it.

Then again, elections aren’t always about being happy. They are about expressing our opinions and then being able to live with the consequences. We will never get exactly what we want all the time, but living in a representative republic, we are obligated to accept the results of fairly conducted elections and then learn how to move on. We must be focused both on being Stronger Together and Making America Great Again (if you think we’re already great, I’d challenge you look at your social media feed and see how “great” some of the posts are).

So, no matter what happens on Tuesday, we should collectively take a deep breath or two and get ready to face the results of the election calmly and rationally.

If that doesn’t work, then I’d recommend a little chocolate therapy. It always seems to work for me.

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