To my friends on the “Left” of the political spectrum. I would ask that you just try to take a breath and try to relax. I know that you are a little scared. I know this is not what you wanted in the election, but the world is not coming to an end. At least not today. I have very good friends that are liberals and I have very good friends that are staunch conservatives. Our friendship is not based on how we vote. It is based on the fact that we agree far more than we disagree. We have a lot in common and we enjoy our time together. We all want to be free, happy, safe and prosperous. We all want be able to express ourselves and have our opinions heard and appreciated. That is some common ground that we all share.

I know how you feel…… I was sad and despondent when President Obama was elected. I do not subscribe to his brand of politics. I disagree with redistribution of wealth and socialized healthcare. He said some things about faith and guns that upset me. He passed some legislation that I didn’t like. He wrote executive orders that made me cringe. But he was voted into office and he was the President of The United States. He was given that power and that mandate by the citizens of this nation.

I survived….. When Obama was elected, I thought that the Republic would be lost. I thought that this was the end of our basic freedoms and we would all soon fall into a socialist state. I was SURE of it! Well…. That didn’t happen. We survived just fine. Yes something changed, but no one scooped me up and whisked me away to a concentration camp. No one confiscated my home or my guns. No one took my family and friends from me. I was frightened by all of the prognosticators and pundits on the right, assuring me that we would lose EVERYTHING with this guy in office!!! We are all going to hell in a hand basket!!

Well…. That didn’t happen either. They were wrong, at least about Armageddon and dooms day. Yes, the Democrats and President Obama did things that I didn’t agree with, but I surely wasn’t going to die from any of it. They were the party in power, they won the mandate and they did what they were sent there to do. That was why they were elected. That is how our Republic works. We have three branches of government with many checks and balances to keep BOTH parties in check. Neither party should be free to inflict or subject the citizens of this nation to unfettered power. That is the beauty of our system. We don’t want any single party to have ultimate control, left or right.

This election pitted two of the most disliked candidates ever to run for the office of the President. We have all heard and seen things that would have shocked the world 20 years ago. Not it is mainstream news on Fox and CNN. We have all been exposed to enormous amounts of negative campaigning and terrible demonization of the candidates and parties. We have seen accusations and behavior that we would not accept from our friends. Most of us would not expose ourselves to that type of behavior. We would not want our children to see this either. Both of them are “deplorable” in their own way. What one person sees as acceptable behavior, another may see as horrible behavior. It all depends on your point of view. (and the news channel that you are watching)

The bigger issue is that this terrible, divisive rhetoric will only lead to more division and unrest. It will lead to destruction of friendships and families. It has already started to tear into the very fabric of our society. We continue to divide ourselves into smaller and smaller groups because of something that we heard on the news or Facebook. The radical factions on the left and right continue to fuel that fire. We have to stop allowing them to play on our fears. They only seek to divide us so that we do not work together. United we stand, divided we are sheep. Easy to scare and easy to herd. We have actually come to the point in our society where we are AFRAID of the other party or candidate. We are truly becoming afraid of each other! We are afraid to not toe the line with “our” party or have an opinion that differs from a friend or think about a topic in another way. We are afraid of retribution and public humiliation. We literally BULLY each other on Facebook and Twitter.

We are all individuals, with individual values and beliefs. We will never all agree on everything. We are all subject to the human condition and free will. We come in all shapes and sizes and colors and creeds, but we must find common ground. Disagreeing with someone, does not make either of you EVIL. It only means that we have not made a good enough case to convince someone to agree with your position. Keep working at it! You may finally change their mind. Somewhere within us, we all have common ground. We as Americans must remember to stand on that common ground and continue to love each other as friends and neighbors. We must also talk to each other… find the places where we agree and work from there. Civilized debates can start from a point of agreement. They will never come from a place of hate.

Donald Trump will be our president. I don’t know if he will be good or bad. He won the election by a large margin. As Mr. Trump would say, “I won Biggly!.” Hillary Clinton did not convince the American people that she was the better option. That doesn’t make her or Mr. Trump evil, or racist or sexist or bigots or (fill in the derogatory comment). It just means that she lost the argument. Her sales pitch didn’t ring with the American people and his did. I personally thought that she would win in a landslide, I was wrong again. The good news is that the system worked. As surprising at it is, the system worked and the election resulted in a Trump victory. Beyond that, we can expect a smooth transition of power from one President to the next. That alone is something to be proud of.

To my friends on the right….. Remember what you felt the day that President Obama was elected. Remember how upset you were? Remember how afraid you were? Don’t use this as an opportunity to divide yourself from your friends and neighbors. Don’t use this an opportunity to rub someone’s nose in the Trump victory. Listen to their fears and console them. Put your arm around your friends and let them know that you care. You don’t always agree, but you care. (I find that beer or two is usually helpful at this point)

This was an emotional and passionate election, but hopefully it didn’t change us. We should all take a step back and remember who we are. The sun will come up in the East and set in the West tomorrow. Our country will survive and we will continue on as Americans and hopefully FRIENDS.

God Bless You and God Bless the United States of America.

David Redlinger