A long road will remain

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“Because if you don’t stand up for the stuff you don’t like, when they come for the stuff you do like, you’ve already lost.”

­— Neil Gaiman

Both sides in this historic presidential election have eyes set on Nov. 8 as a landmark day.

For one side it will serve as victory and vindication, and for the other, will lead to disappointment and nervousness about the days ahead.

The healing process in America must begin in earnest post-election if we are to repair the breaks and heal the wounds that have scarred us over the past couple of years. Chief among these healing processes is to recognize we are all Americans – Republicans, Democrats and others – who deserve to be heard, respected and treated as equals, not as traitors or unAmerican. We must reaffirm a respect for differences in opinion and learn how to communicate again. We have to remember that being in the majority shouldn’t imply a mandate to cram our point of view down someone else’s throat or ostracize them from the process.

Sadly, throughout this election cycle we have read story after story of families and friendships severed over political divides. We may not like one candidate or the other, but both are Americans and both are eligible to be president. We may feel that one is a looming disaster as president, but we get what we demand and vote for.

Elections in America should be this important and should be this anticipated, but they should never lead to fear, anger and such animosity. Without a doubt, the side that loses the 2016 election, will wake up Nov. 9 worried about the future. Whichever side celebrates victory election night must work hard to reassure the rest of America we are all one people, with the same ultimate goals of freedom and liberty for all.

Remember, we all share the same freedom of speech, and the reason it is so important to respect the rights of those in the minority – political or otherwise – is because someday we might find ourselves among that group.

Cast your vote proudly, but remember, the whole reason we vote is because we all have different opinions, and are entitled to them.

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