WE GOT WHAT WE DESERVED AND ITS YOUR FAULT
I'm speaking of the election outcome that overnight saw Donald Trump elected to the most prestigious and powerful office in the world.
It happened because you, collectively and individually have created a culture of division and enmity by using an overly broad brush to label "other" as "wrong". Instead of the country that we had just a decade or so ago, where we had some people crossing the aisles to draft legislation, not only do we now have, but we now THINK only in terms of monolithic forcing of agendas.
Whether it's to protect second amendment rights or to protect transgender rights, it is not only assumed, it is practically mandated by rhetoric on both sides that if someone disagrees with you on one point, then they are guilty of all the crimes, real and imagined, of the rest of the "other".
You forgot that people are not one size fits all and have forgotten about compromise. You adopted a winner take all attitude, and depending on your views right now, you either feel like you've gained it all or lost it all.
IT DIDN'T USED TO BE LIKE THIS
It wasn't that long ago that when we looked at who won a presidential election, we were concerned about how one candidate or the other was "stronger" or "weaker" on domestic or foreign policy. It was assumed that they would still govern in a way that was representative of the people as a whole.
The way it used to work was that the legislative establishment, as directed by the people who elected them, would engage in a long-term quid pro quo relationship, exchange favors and votes, in order to advance – over a period of time – the desires of their constituencies. Even the president was beholden to working with both parties to advance agendas due to divided house and Senate and the strong likelihood that they'd have a shifting power base across their four or eight year terms.
BUT YOU MADE "OTHER" THE ENEMY
Instead of pursuing long-term changes or engaging in dialogue, you demanded that the other side concede to your demands immediately and without compromise. Essentially saying, "we don't care if this is not good, it's better than what we have now, and now is when we want change." And you elected people who represent that belief. You forced polarization. You stopped electing politicians and started electing ideologues.
Outside of elections, you used social media, including 140 character bullets and propaganda poster memes to create "zingers" that, collectively, over time, and due to humanity's predilection to make emotional decisions over intellectual ones, hammered home stereotypes and what is essentially political bigotry, turning "other" into "wrong".
YOU FORCED PEOPLE TO TAKE SIDES
Because of your fever to label the "other" as "outcast unclean," and "enemy" people started taking hard stances and resisting where before, they would have been happy to dance and compromise. By creating enemies, you effectively created an army of political conscripts, on both sides, who were indoctrinated to believe that they were in a fight to the death. And because it was believed, it became true. Both sides have had their prophets and their priests, and we created a patriotism of party over a patriotism of nation. You created a war, and we all lost.
THE COST OF CREATING ENEMIES
Hillary is old school. She is ruthlessly, and in every way, an old school politician. She knows how to wheel and deal in political minefields in a way that Trump never will. I believe her undoing, however, was the fact that she got saddled with one side's ideological war as their chosen candidate, forcing her to take sides and effectively putting a scarlet letter "E" for "ENEMY" on her chest.
Trump has no formal ideology. I'm not going to waste your time or mine trying to demonstrate how. It's in the public record. But, perhaps because of that, he was harder to label as the enemy. And those that didn't take sides, or were tired of the war, wanted an option that wasn't wearing that scarlet letter. People who voted for Trump didn't like Trump, but he isn't seen as their enemy.
So we end up with a president-elect that got the office because of your choices, and now we get to live with those consequences. That cost is yours to bear. You may not have cast a vote for him, but you created the conditions in which he could be elected in the first place.
NOBODY IS HAPPY
The people who voted for Hillary are obviously unhappy. Their candidate lost. Some percentage of the third party voters are unhappy (I suspect most are ambivalent), but they knew going in that there was exactly zero chance that they would be happy. And a large number of the Trump voters held their nose as they voted for him, and aren't happy. But you didn't leave them with a choice. They didn't leave themselves with a choice. They were, after all, the group primarily responsible for getting him through the primaries in the first place. But this is typical. Generally no more than 25% of the populous actually wants the person that wins the election. We probably got lower than that in this case.
I'm seeing things from both sides right now. From the people who have embraced the war that they created. One side thinks, "great, we control everything" and the other thinks "oh my gosh, we've lost everything." This is because...
YOU ARE MAKING THE SAME MISTAKE
Your reaction assumes that the 59 million people who voted differently than you are a monolithic block of same thinking people who are going to move in lockstep towards an ideology. You keep forgetting that people are individuals. You keep thinking in terms of us versus them. You keep thinking of people as "other".
This makes you a damned bigot.
And an even worse idiot.
You don't have 59 million enemies. You have 59 million people who, for any of a number of personal reasons, made a vote that you disagree with. You have people who embrace LGBTQ and the second amendment who made a choice weighted towards one of those reasons. Not because they hate one or the other. You have people who support the Obamacare that can't stomach late term abortions and they made their choice according to which weighted most. And that choice wasn't necessarily easy.
But it's also the truth that you continue to paint with that broad brush and assume that someone who disagrees is also the enemy. You are continuing discomfort. Oh, you'll acknowledge individuals - friends - as different, as exceptions, but still… the enemy is out there and despite your personal acknowledgement of exceptions, you're ignoring that those exceptions are the rule.
YOU DEFINED THE WAR, NOW DEFINE THE PEACE
Regardless of whether or not your side "won" or not, the war that you created is at a pause. It's up to you to define the peace. Are you going to use this armistice to rearm, build better weapons, continue propaganda, and escalate when the peace ends in two or four years? Or are you going to use the peace as a weapon instead? Stop labeling and start building bridges. Convince with words and not legislation that your ideas and concerns are worthwhile. Are you going to treat people as individuals, or as faceless soldiers of enemy ideology?
The choice is yours.
THE SOLUTION, AND YOU AREN'T GOING TO LIKE IT
The solution here is to stand down the militarized politics on both sides. To recall that you aren't in a war of ideology with an army, you're in a negotiation for the hearts and minds of the INDIVIDUALS that disagree with you.
Regardless of whether or not your side "won" this battle, if you want to create a lasting peace that benefits the nation, and not just you personally, you need to start deescalating now. You need to acknowledge people as individuals, with nuanced stances on a variety of issues.
You need to act with love for your fellow man. You need to have compassion for the viewpoints of others. You need to listen. You need to understand.
You don't need to agree, but you need to acknowledge. You need to compromise with the understanding that the next time around, your beliefs will be the ones that are under pressure.
And you need to be patient in victory or defeat.
You need to remember that change happens one person at a time. It doesn't happen because you legislate it.
You have a choice between creating a society where people feel like criminals because you have forced legislation upon them that makes their thinking and beliefs wrong, or you can do what we did before and wage a slow, inclusive conversation to win hearts and minds.
You just had a lesson that forcing things doesn't work.
ITS IN YOUR HANDS TO CHOOSE THE INSANITY OF DOING THE SAME THING OVER AGAIN OR TRYING A DIFFERENT APPROACH
Because, unless I'm wrong, there's another election coming up eventually.