OTHER VOICES: With election over, it’s time to work together

November 24, 2018

Breathe a sigh of relief, Nebraska – we survived the 2018 election.

Now, let’s learn from it and become better on account of what we all just endured.

To be frank, this campaign hasn’t necessarily brought out our better angels. A flood of negative ads, some emanating from unknown sources, sought to denigrate viewpoints and people on the other side of the topic. Half-truths and claims that required squinting to find an ounce of accuracy abounded.

And for what? The pursuit of victory above all else?

Moving forward from the election, we must bury the hatchet and seek common ground to shape and advance our political dialogue and policy. Truth, compassion and community are needed to lead the way, rather than the win-at-all-costs mentality and scorched-earth tactics that led up to the vote.

You’ll probably notice the members of the Lincoln Journal Star editorial board identified neither the victor nor the vanquished. But that further underscores the point of this call to unity – which remains salient, no matter which party or candidates are in power.

In fact, those who are elected, whether to a county board or Congress, take upon themselves the sacred duty to represent all their constituents. Not just the ones who voted for them or think like them – we’re talking the whole lot.

Perhaps this all seems a bit idealistic. After all, a win is a win, whether it’s by one vote or 100,000 votes, and all elections have consequences. But those ramifications don’t have to include highlighting or capitalizing upon the divides, nor should gloating occur at the expense of those who backed an unsuccessful campaign.

No compelling reason exists as to why we can’t be better as a result of this election. Rather than viewing it solely through a lens of wins and losses and us vs. them, let us offer a suggestion that may sound foreign: Step back, and be collegial.

If you’re a politically active person, no doubt you’ll have already been inundated by now with post-election fundraising emails for some candidate or cause. Just press pause.

The issues won’t have gone anywhere in the interim. But, after such a contentious and momentous midterm election, taking a second to unwind and chill out won’t hurt anyone. Rather, a quick break is important to recalibrate ourselves to what matters most – policy and people, not politics.

We hope an ability to work together – to give a little bit to get a piece of something instead of the entirety of nothing – is the lasting legacy of this election, not the philosophical divides campaigns sought to exploit.

Update hourly