After a tumultuous election year—both nationally and here in Maryland—we have at long last reached the end of a messy process. Some folks are pleased by the re-election of President Barack Obama, while others are bitterly disappointed. Similar emotions are certainly found in association with the results of some of our state's more controversial ballot initiatives, including expanded gambling, extending in-state tuition benefits to children of undocumented immigrants, and upholding the extension of civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Not surprisingly, soon after the results were tallied, some who were unhappy with the final result felt it necessary to let loose with their frustrations. Perhaps the worst example of this was a series of Tweets from contrarian tycoon Donald Trump. His rants against the re-election of President Obama included gems like "we should march on Washington and stop this travesty," and "let's fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice!"
Unfortunately for us, there have also been some naysayers closer to home. In reading through the multitude of comments posted in response to Patch political stories, there are some (albeit much less incendiary) comments made in opposition to the election and referenda results. While I certainly respect the constitutional right that we all share to speak our minds as we choose, I believe that this is the time for healing our wounds as a nation.
Each of us, myself included, did not necessarily see each and every election race or ballot decision go our way. I am not particularly pleased to see the expansion of gambling passed, as I firmly believe that the addition of a sixth casino site will impair the financial viability of nearby existing in-state gambling venues. Nevertheless, I respect the fact that 52 percent of Marylanders felt differently and approved the measure.
It would be foolish of me to think that just because those who supported the gambling measure didn't agree with my view that this somehow made them either "brainwashed people," "delusional," or "fools"—actual words used by some commenters right here on Patch. No matter how unhappy one may be with the results of this or any other election, there is never good cause for directly attacking others whose views were different.
Moreover, it would also be an unproductive exercise for those on the "winning" side of partisan races to gloat over their victories. Rather, what our nation desperately needs are peacemakers who will help to heal the partisan breach that threatens America. Extreme words or deeds that will only further divide us are not what is called for at this time.
President Gerald Ford faced a similarly fractious situation upon assuming office in August 1974 after the resignation of Richard Nixon. I believe that words spoken by Ford in his remarks in acceptance of the presidency perfectly capture the essence of what all Americans, regardless of party affiliation, must do now. President Ford said at that time, "Even though this is an election year, there is no way we can go forward except together and no way anybody can win except by serving the people's urgent needs. We cannot stand still or slip backwards. We must go forward now together." Let us all seek to follow these words of wisdom in the days and weeks ahead.