Sean Edwards

The American Resurrection

The Road to Healing: How to Recover from One Hell of an Election

It’s been a few weeks since Election 2016, but most people are still reeling from the results.

For many, it still isn’t any easier to accept them. It still hurts. It still feels like half the country hates them. And people feel deeply betrayed.

election-healing

How can we ever recover from this? Is it even possible?

Yes, and we can do it by believing in each other again.

Words Have Power, Be Careful How You Use Them

First we need to look at the roles of the DNC, RNC, and their media conglomerate allies.

Every election sees its share of slander. But this election takes the gold. I have never seen so many video clips and sound bites taken out of context at one time.

I haven’t seen CNN and Fox be so obvious with their biases.

And I haven’t seen people as upset as they are now.

What happened? Every election someone loses, and their supporters feel a sense of loss. That is normal.

But this election was different. It was far more intense.

Basically, the respective campaign machines, and their media allies, convinced us that the “other side” was the enemy.

  • They are bad people…
  • They want to take away your rights…
  • They want to take away your guns…
  • They want to deport you…
  • They are everything that is wrong with this country…

At the root of it all: You can’t trust your fellow Americans. Your neighbors hate you. The only people you can trust are the people who vote like you. Otherwise, you’ve partnered with racism, bigotry, tyranny, and pure evil.

Both sides drove messages of fear down our throats about what might happen if the other person won.

They convinced us that the other side’s candidate, and their supporters, represented everything wrong with this country… and we believed them.

They convinced us that the other side’s candidate, and their supporters, represented everything wrong with this country… and we believed them.

We allowed our political parties to label half the country as “bad people”… and we accepted it.

If We Don’t Change This, Elections Are Going To Get Worse

What did we think was going to happen when both sides effectively convinced their followers that the other candidate, and their followers, were evil?

If I truly believed that Hillary was a murdering elitist, bent on nothing but her own gain, then it would be my DUTY to fight back.

If I swallow the party line–hook, line, and sinker–then I must come to one conclusion: The other side wants me in chains and to plunder my bank account.

It doesn’t matter which side I’m on, both sides are telling me this.

If I truly believed the stuff being said about the “other candidate,” then I would have to fight back. And I couldn’t be civil with their supporters.

Don’t be surprised when people feel betrayed after the democratic party spent 6 months screaming about how terrible Trump was, but now says we need to “calm down” and “give him a chance.”

People feel betrayed after the democratic party spent 6 months screaming about how terrible Trump was, but now says we need to “calm down” and “give him a chance.”

What?? Weren’t you just saying how TERRIBLE he’d be for the country? And weren’t you trying to convince me that our human rights could be violated if he won? Then how can you tell me to “calm down” and “give him a chance”???

Were you telling the truth? Or were you just saying whatever you thought would get your candidate elected?

The Post-Election Protests Reveal The True Integrity of Americans

If I were a Hillary supporter, my morals would require me to fight Trump and his followers… maybe even to violence.

Why? Because I believe his presidency may usher in the fourth reich… because that’s what my party told me.

If I were a Trump supporter, my principles would require me to fight Hillary and her followers… maybe even to violence.

Why? Because I believe she wants to establish a socialist police state straight out of 1984… because that’s why my party told me.

If I buy the party-lines, I MUST protest. If I don’t, I’m a hypocrite.

Integrity doesn’t mean you do good things. Integrity means that you are consistent with yourself. If you believe A, then you’ll perform actions that support A. If you believe A, but you do B, then you are a hypocrite and lack integrity.

All the violence and chaos during (and after) the election show us two things: 1) Many Americans swallowed their party’s kool aide, and 2) Most Americans have high levels of integrity.

If I were a Hillary supporter who believed my party, and I didn’t protest Trump’s election, I would be a hypocrite. Why? Because I would believe A (that Trump could be the next Hitler), but I do B (nothing).

The protests and anger after the election show us that Americans have spine and integrity (go America!).

The real problem comes down to 2 things: 1) People lied, and 2) we believed them.

What Do Your Actions Say About Your Values?

However, none of this would have happened if we all had done one thing: Given each other the benefit of the doubt.

I know this is crazy, but what if we believed in people again? Instead of assuming the worst in people, how about we assume the best in people (until they prove us wrong)?

If we all respected each other, and recognized that we all want what’s best for the country (we just disagree on how to do it), how different would this election have looked?

Instead of trying to beat the other side down with slander, half-truths, and out-right lies, we’d try to talk with them. We’d try to have real conversations about issues.

Instead of hurling insults, we’d ask questions… because we wouldn’t understand how a smart, good human being could hold a contrary view point.

We’d have to say things like, “That idea seems absurd, but these people seem to like it. Why are these smart people, who want good things for all Americans, supporting this idea? There must be something I don’t understand about their position. Or there must be something they don’t understand about mine. Or a little of both. But I should talk to them none-the-less.”
Can you imagine how different our political culture would be if we adopted this mindset?

In my life, I have adopted a core value that says, “All people (including their motives) are innocent until proven guilty.” I have chosen to believe that people are good until I have proof they are not. That’s what core values are. They are values that you’ve established in your life, either intentionally or unintentionally, that make decisions for you.

This core value makes decisions for me (especially when I need to be reminded of it). If I don’t have proof that Hillary is a liar (and I just think she is), then I must make decisions assuming she tells the truth (despite how I feel).

This isn’t easy at first. You have to stop yourself mid-thought and correct your thinking. But, once you do it for a while, it begins to be second nature, and you begin to think the best of people by default.

Instead of getting mad at someone for something they said or did, you start thinking of ways you might have misinterpreted them. And you become a happier person, because suddenly the world looks a lot different.

That’s how we heal. That’s how we rebuild. And that’s how we make American great again.

About Sean Edwards

Sean Edwards is an author and a communication strategist. He graduated from the Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in history. Sean has a passion for discussing philosophy and American politics.

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  • Eileen

    Fair enough as far as it goes. What this article ignores is that Americans were upset and angry before the election. They were upset and angry before the primaries. The problem was that both parties ignored this and assumed that the party registered voters would fall in line. People react when they feel sufficient pain, and IMO, this election there were plenty of people who felt pain and were ready to fight back at the ballot box.

    It is not known whether Trump followers would actually riot and beat people up like Clinton supporters are. What is known is that many of them, if not most, would choose to exercise their right to secede and would have done so. The problem is that the differences that divide the two sides isn’t just a matter of they want socialism and we don’t. It was each side engaging in a culture war (and I don’t mean Sharia Law – the cultural divide was more fundamental than that). People are ready to accept a woman as President, just like they voted for an African American twice. What they didn’t want was someone (man or woman) who wished to fundamentally change what they call “America”, such as family, family values and the opportunity to self start. That is what was threatened, and the SJW’s behavior tended to support that feeling and just made them more angry.

  • Tammy

    What this article seems to mainly point to was the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton and whatever issues people might have with her, innocent or not. What about the issues with the RNC and Republican nominee Donald Trump? There was allot of state manipulation in the form of gerrymandering and voter suppression and all of Trumps lies, about every 3 minutes or so during his campaign and which he continues to lie. What about the people he’s surrounding himself with, one prime example is the President Elect Mike Pence, who either skirts around any question with regard to Trumps lies or blatantly agrees with his lie, what truth is there in that? Trumps campaign manager Kellyanne Conway just recently stated that any tweet Trump makes (false or not) is presidential because he’s the President Elect… What the hell!
    So in this article you’re suggesting we put aside what we know (not what we’ve been told) to be fact and truth, to give lies and deceit a chance? I don’t think that will work very well, there are people who are more intelligent than that, people who won’t lie to themselves…People like me! I don’t believe in “just because someone said it makes it true”… Be real…

    • Sean Edwards

      Tammy, are you implying that I’m lieing to myself? And, just how exactly do you think that line of discussion is going to persuade me? Why, when you you’ve just called me someone who lies to themselves, do you think you’ll have any bearing on my position? You may have some good points, but this is one of the things we need to change about our political culture. When we hurl insults, instead of articulating arguments, we just create further division. And we don’t do any good. Nothing changes.

      Tammy, I want to hear what you have to say. But first, I’m going to ask that you stop attacking me, please articulate your position clearly and respectfully, and provide proof (as in actually facts, just saying something is a fact doesn’t make it so) to your assertions. I look forward to hearing your response.