What topic does a writer choose a week before the most contentious presidential race in our lifetime? That is especially true when you are writing for a weekly newspaper that is struggling to overcome the twin obstacles of Hurricane Michael and the Pandemic.
Advertising has plummeted due to both of those events. This really puts a strain on the lifeline for a weekly newspaper that already faces the challenges of social media.
A strong endorsement of either presidential candidate during these partisan times means that people, left and right or red and blue, pull their advertising. Subscribers cancel because you do not support their candidate. Endorsements for a paper on the financial edge are potentially the kiss of death.
So, let me say what is more generally on my mind. I have already voted. In this crazy world we are currently in, that was one of the best things I have ever done. It was like releasing the steam in an overheated boiler. I have made my decision and do not have to worry about or listen to anybody else’s opinion.
I am also thankful that the debates are over. In my opinion, we should not bother with these debates in the future. The commentators try to get someone in a “gotcha” moment. If that does not happen, then the opposing networks will frame those moments for you.
How will you save the world? The candidates then have two minutes to answer. Then, the other candidate has 30 seconds to respond to an answer that had nothing to do with the original question. Complex questions require thoughtful responses.
I am worn out. Like most of you, I have made up my mind. I am not sure I even know anyone that is still trying to make up their mind.
Given that half the country has probably already voted, and that there is an infinitesimal number of people still sitting on the fence, I have turned my thoughts to “what now”? What will happen if Trump wins? If Biden wins? What happens if it is a close race or a blowout? How do we as a nation move forward after the race is over?
I have my hopes and my fears. I have long believed in the power, strength, and sustainability of American democracy. While these are difficult times, I believe the foundation of our country remains intact.
The talking heads for both sides do not speak for most of the American citizens. I still reside firmly in the middle, believing that consensus is not a dirty word. I think this is also where the vast majority of our citizens still reside when they put their head on a pillow at night.
Most Americans believe in decency and fairness. They believe in a strong national defense and a safety net for the most vulnerable among us. They believe in our Constitution, equality for all, and a plan for our nation’s future.
After being involved in politics most of my adult life, I find myself not talking about politics at all. I can count on two hands the people to whom I have given my opinion about this election. Why? Because I value friends and family. I choose not to let the events over which I have no control to divide me from those that mean the most to me.
It is almost over. The election, for better or worse, will hopefully bring a sigh of relief to this nation. We need a pause from the ugly discourse that is bringing out the worst in us. The time for healing is now and the need is great.
I plan to reach out my hand to everyone I know after this election. I hope to help foster a time of reconciliation, not for the nation, because that is beyond my scope. I just want that time of healing between me and those I respect, hold close, and whose friendships I want to retain.
Take the edge off your tweets and Facebook posts. Measure your words carefully. You and I will not change the course of the election. We are past that. But you can hopefully keep the connection with people you have known, respected, and loved long before these crazy times divided us.
It is almost over. Thank God, it is almost over.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org