As you’re reading this, the results of Tuesday’s election night may very well be in. Not only may the country know exactly who will be President for the next four years, but Cheshire likely also knows which legislators will represent them up in Hartford for the coming term.
As The Cheshire Herald’s press time arrived before even the first ballots were being counted, we can’t offer up any opinions on who won or what it could mean for the town, state, or country. But what we can do is offer an opinion on how each of us should react to the results.
Accept them. Move past the political moment. Put Election Day 2020 behind and begin to move forward.
It could be, of course, that certain results remain unknown at this time. With a rather large influx of mail-in ballots expected, towns and states may take an exceptionally long time to count each one and record each vote. It’s possible that, as of now, only a handful of outcomes can actually be “accepted.”
But eventually the votes will be counted. Eventually the results will be known. Eventually someone will be acknowledged as the winner. And when that happens, everyone should simply hope that the individuals charged with serving the state and the nation at this difficult time do the best they possibly can.
It is not healthy for a democracy when citizens believe in the viability of an election only if the outcomes suit their desires. Some are or will be disappointed by what happened on Tuesday, others thrilled, but unless unbiased, overwhelming evidence can be presented to show that something nefarious took place to alter outcomes, then those disappointments must be overcome.
Our politicians must also keep in mind, always, that they are elected to serve all the people, not just the ones who cast a ballot for them. Representatives, especially on the local level, have an obligation to be there for their constituents, and no one should feel as if their voices won’t be heard or their concerns won’t be registered because of political affiliation.
Politics is indeed important, and all votes matter. As this publication has said on a number of occasions in the last few weeks, the decisions made at the state and federal levels in the coming months may well determine whether Connecticut and the country as a whole emerge from the pandemic bolder and better than ever, or whether a recovery drags on for years.
But politics is unhealthy when it becomes all-encompassing — when it impacts our relationships with the people we love, when it begs us to believe the worst in our fellow man and requires that we offer few, if any, the benefit of the doubt. When our trust in institutions is based solely in our happiness with particular political outcomes, then we diminish those institutions and ensure that trust is always viewed purely as conditional.
So whatever happened on Tuesday — whether it brought you joy or anxiety — accept the results and move on. It won’t just make for a happier holiday season — one needed now more than ever — it will also help the country move forward.