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Chester County Press

Editorial: One small cup of water

And so it is nearly done.

On the day this editorial publishes, less than one skinny week will remain in our current political season, one handful of days before the signage along our roadsides comes down and the endless cacophony of campaigns and platforms will breathe their last breaths and vanish forever, and the citizens of our municipalities take part in their greatest civic responsibility – the filling in of circles with a Number 2 lead pencil in the temporary hideaway of their privacy and their freedom.

The act of voting is a ritual that serves as our confession, the dream catcher for our ideologies and the convergence of our life’s blueprint. It is our homecoming, our prayer, our flip of the coin and our fullest engagement in the future of our community, our state and our nation.

When we rise on the morning of Nov. 3, however, all of us – Republicans, Democrats and Independents -- will have arrived on that date having lived through a fire that is still raging, fought with the weaponry of words that have spawned new, smaller fires fought citizen to citizen.

We will arrive on that date having been the victims a nearly daily assault of rhetoric so vile and incendiary and unrelenting that no other political cycle in our lifetime can approach it.

For most of us – dare we imply a majority of us -- we are exhausted by its volume, its frequency and its venom.  

It has been an assault on our time-honored institutions, such as health and medicine, science and the press.

It has left near-permanent stains on the imprint of our nation’s character.

It has asked its citizens not to listen, but to choose between the invented categories of “Us vs. Them” and “Good vs. Bad.”

It has ended friendships, and ripped apart the fabric of families that were once thought to be heirlooms once undivided.

It has taken the beauty and freedom of our opposing discourse and blown it into river-wise schisms that may never narrow again.

It has drowned out the voices of our local political leaders – those who are vying to return to their offices, those who are looking to serve again, and those who are seeking an office for the first time.

It has taken their nuanced aspirations by a chokehold grip and narrowed their definition into nothing more than the confines of their political affiliation.

It has led us into the private corners of our consciousness to question our allegiance to a country that would condone such behavior.

Were this newspaper to suddenly come into the possession of a crystal ball that had the ability to peer into what the future impact of this rhetoric will be, we would gladly share the results. Regretfully, we are not gifted with such magical powers, and we will not prognosticate on what is yet to come.

This, however, we do know: That the men and women who publish this newspaper and its family of regional magazines are a consortium of differing viewpoints and beliefs and opinions, and while we may not always fall into the same line of thinking politically and otherwise, we are united in our belief that this voice we have been hearing – this insubordinate and unchecked wail – has not made our country better, but far worse.

It is important to state now – in fact, it is crucial to state – that this editorial does not serve as a political endorsement for any candidate, as we are not in the business of spilling our ink onto your constitutional right. Your vote is yours, and we believe it always should be.

If there is any amplification in our message, however, it is felt in a small whisper of hope that the raging flood tide of visceral indecency that now governs our national conversation eases both its fury and its influence.

Against the raging fire of the message, we accept that this is a naïve thought -- one small cup of water tossed onto a nation deep in the flames of rhetoric that has not yet been contained.

And yet, it is one small cup of water, and it is ours.