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Chester County Press

Editorial: The three colors of our future

11/08/2016 12:42PM ● By Richard Gaw
We are all so tired.
We have attended rallies and stood on lines. We have poked political signs into the ground. We have scanned the online election forecasts as often as we have checked our voicemails and our i-phones. We have watched the percentages fluctuate, flip flop, inspire and confound. We have surrendered to our preconceived biases, gathering in chummy clumps around those who believe what we do, while labeling away those who don't think like us into categories.
We have rattled off our opinions about this election to friends and neighbors and spouses and children and co-workers, to the point of dizzying exhaustion. We have done all we could do to shout our barbaric yawp to anyone within earshot, and our footprints are entrenched in the cement of our ideologies.
As this editorial is being written, the election to determine the 45th President of the United States is still one day away and, barring the unforseen, a winner has been declared, whether by landslide or by the narrowest of victories.  In the coming months, the president-elect will outline his or her aspirations, platform and vision for the next four years, and at about noon on Jan. 20, 2107, he or she will be sworn in on the steps of the United States Capitol Building.
Such events, draped in the formality of a 'peaceful transference' of power, are the stuff of what our forefathers boldly delegated, but to look at what we have all witnessed in this presidential campaign over the past year is to know that in our contemporary America, the optimism of 'peaceful transference' has instead become the victim of a severe beatdown. 
It may be too late for repair. Red and Blue are no longer colors but battle line shades, and they have melded together into a purply kind of ugliness that has spread to every crevice of this country and rendered it immovable. White, the third color of the American flag, is the color of surrender, but trying to get liberals and conservatives to hitch onto that ideal right about now is like trying to get through a family dinner without talking about this election.
And yet, short of turning America into a remake of the Hatfields and McCoys and potentially undermining our entire democracy, surrender is our only hope, and not just in the form of a weary foe holding out a white flag at the end of a losing battle. If we're looking elected officials to help lead us in a new direction, look elsewhere; Washington and Harrisburg are so far chewed up by the spin cycle of partisanship, re-election and cozying up to special interest groups that there's little chance of them ever keeping their souls and integrity intact.
Do not look to the president-elect for inspiration, either; he or she will be too invested in trying to shove the square block of his or her agenda into the round hole of a House and Senate, a majority of whom already detest one or the other candidate, or both.
Whether we as Americans choose to continue to serve as the kerosene to this already raging fire -- or whether we choose to boldly live above the fray of this division -- rests with our willingness to acknowledge those whose front lawn signs are a different color than ours. It continues when we begin to look at our neighbors not as Red or Blue but as parents, friends, co-workers, businessmen and businesswomen. It ends when we have succeeded in knowing that what divides us is miniscule compared to what connects us.
The act of surrender is rarely pretty, but as we embark on the aftermath of our nation's ugliest campaign for its highest office, it is a very noble and necessary choice. It may also help preserve our nation.