There’s been a post making the rounds on Facebook about a woman who, feeling down about the results of the election, went for a hike in the woods to help get her mind off of things. While out getting some fresh air, she just happened to encounter Hillary Clinton, who was doing the same thing.
We share that anecdote with you to tell you this: with the campaign over, it’s time for us to start looking for the things we have in common — and an appreciation for the outdoors is a great place to start. After all, it’s why many of us choose to live on the Kenai Peninsula. Whether you consider yourself liberal, conservative, or somewhere in between, who doesn’t appreciate getting outdoors?
The political rhetoric of the recent campaign has been nasty — which isn’t really anything new — but it’s also been much more divisive than in campaigns past. And there’s been an aggression behind the rhetoric we haven’t seen before, one that’s made people feel unsafe and threatened in their own community.
Others have listened to the candidates and the news coverage, and have seen themselves essentially labeled as ignorant.
We must do better.
Now, we’re not saying we all have to stand in a circle and sing “Kumbaya” — while it would be nice, we don’t think it’s realistic to expect it — but we do need to acknowledge that having a political conviction, and the courage to express it, is to be admired and respected, not derided as a character flaw. President-elect Donald Trump set the right tone with his acceptance speech.
“Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division, have to get together,” he said. “To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. “It is time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.”
We also appreciate Clinton’s remarks after the election, in which she said, “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
And President Barack Obama emphasized the American tradition of a peaceful transfer of power, pledging to help Trump and his advisers as they take the reins of government.
“We all want what’s best for this country. That’s what I heard in Mr. Trump’s remarks last night. That’s what I heard when I spoke to him directly. And I was heartened by that. That’s what the country needs — a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law, and respect for each other,” Obama said on Wednesday. “I hope that he maintains that spirit throughout this transition. And I certainly hope that’s how his presidency has a chance to begin.”
We hope our readers understand that unity has to start here in our community. We all have friends who may have voted differently than we did — they’re still our friends. We have the same hopes and dreams now as we did six months or a year ago.
And if there’s any lingering doubt about that, we have a suggestion to help remind you of at least one place where we can find some common ground: go for a hike.