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Across the country, Election Day is coming to a close. For most of us, our votes have already been cast and are being counted. Each of us is filled with a range of emotions.
Most of us are afraid about what the days ahead hold. The boards on the buildings around us are a reminder of just how bad it is.
Regardless of the outcome, there will be winners and there will be losers. There will be celebrations and there will be moments of mourning.
We will undoubtedly see the best in us and the worst in us. But whatever you do and however you feel, I ask this of you: do the thing that no one expects, spread hope.
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As a researcher, I talk to people on both sides of the aisle. And this is what I can tell you: People on both sides are good. They want what’s best for this country, their families and themselves. They want to be free and they want to have opportunities.
In fact, they have more in common than they don’t. And in the wake of the most negative election I have ever tested, that notion has been lost.
I spoke to one Trump supporter who isn’t working, is collecting unemployment, has Medicaid and collects food stamps.
I asked him how he could be a Trump supporter when he relied on so many Democratic programs. His response: “I want someone who believes I don’t just deserve this, that I deserve more. I want a president who believes I can and will work again. That our jobs will come back. I want someone who doesn’t look down on me because of my faith in God but celebrates my beliefs. I want someone who frankly, doesn’t look down on me.”
He, like many Trump supporters, wants someone who will fight for him, will believe in him, will not judge him, and will not leave him behind.
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I spoke to one Biden supporter who lost her father to COVID this year. She had recently lost her job. And she felt like she lost everything.
To her, COVID is real. She lives in a city that has changed for the worse over the years. She feels unsafe and she blames Trump for that. After all, she was never as scared as she is today walking home late at night just because of the color of her skin.
She has been with the same partner for seven years. They fear that their marriage won’t be recognized if Trump is reelected. She fears more people will lose their lives. She believes that if Trump wins, she will lose her rights, her voice, her marriage and her safety.
Both of these people are good, good Americans. Both of them have dreams and hopes for a better tomorrow.
Both of them believe that if their candidate loses, their lives are at stake. And sadly, both of them believe that if their candidate wins there will be unrest and riots by the people on the other side.
So what can we do today and tomorrow that is different than yesterday?
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Prove them wrong.
Reach out. Give them hope. And let them know that if your candidate wins, there is a place for them.
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