From Maine to California, Americans today are digesting the results of yesterday’s midterm election. Did the anticipated blue wave of Democratic victories sweep the land? Not exactly, but supporters of Democratic candidates and values have much to cheer about. So have the Other People, those who voted in support of Republican candidates and President Donald Trump.
Those who care deeply about close races cling to hope that as-yet uncounted provisional and absentee ballots might tip the counts in their direction. It’s not over, not yet, they say.
In Texas, Ted Cruz, incumbent Republican, leads Democrat Beto O’Rourke by about 200,000 votes. In Florida, Republican Ron DeSantis leads Democrat Andrew Gillum in the race to become governor by more than 55,000 votes. In Georgia, the GOP’s Brian Kemp leads Democrat Stacey Abrams by more than 75,000 votes.
Democrats celebrate having gained the majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 220-193 at last count. This holds significant implications for the future. This will allow them to begin investigations into Russian interference in U.S. elections, Trump’s finances, and a range of ethics scandals in his administration. It also places Democrats in chairmanships of crucial committees, among them Intelligence, Ways and Means, Foreign Affairs and Judiciary.
Both sides have something to cheer about on this day-after, and this reality raises a nagging question.
We wonder who those Other People are, those who voted to support positions and candidates we find abhorrent. Can this many people actually believe what comes out of Trump’s mouth? Maybe. More likely, they have doubts, too, but yearn to believe. One of Trump’s supporters at a pre-election rally told a TV interviewer that she knows that everything that Trump says is not true, but she trusts him. Why does she? Trump critics find such unwavering loyalty fascinating.
This election has shown us that in fact we are a diverse and divided nation. It also shows us that we who voted a particular way do not necessarily own the greater wisdom, the right answers that can heal our nation’s ills. The path to healing is for us to reach out with respect to those Other People. Get to know them. Yes, love them. They are our neighbors, and we are Americans together. All of us.