In the aftermath of a divisive and brutal election season, everyone and their cousin is offering a post mortem as to why election turned out this way. I am not here to offer my political analysis as to why the election had this outcome. I will leave that to the political pundits that are located across the country from newsrooms to the banter at daily minyan. There is a certain element that I would like to address that has many of us left with scar tissue from the 2016 election. Over the course of the long and heated campaign there were many relationships that took a hit due to the passionate exchanges of views. From spouses, siblings, coworkers and even fellow congregants at shul, there were many instances of tempers flaring and displaying outright disdain for someone else’s views. I have heard of some people that are dreading or even avoiding the upcoming Thanksgiving dinners with family members that voted for the “wrong person”. So how do we pick up the pieces now that the election is finally behind us ? ( I thought I was nauseous when I was driving and heard on the radio something about the 2018 mid term elections)
There is this phrase that we find many times in the Torah including the weekly portions that we read at this time of year. After various significant and compelling events that are recorded in the Torah, prior to moving on to a new subject, we are taught, “It was after these things”. This is teaching is an important lesson about how to move on from important event that are good or otherwise. It is important to catch our breath and reflect on how could move on more stable footing with one another. It is important to remember that we have far more in common with our friends and family than the political disagreements that divide us. Yet, frequently we emphasize and highlight the differences between us. It is still possible for someone to be a kind, intelligent and good hearted individual despite having voted for the the candidate that you didn’t favor. So let us take a step back and view how integral our relationships with our families and friends are and not allow this election to hijack it. Moreover, I would add, that for the people that are celebrating and feeling jubilant, there still will be daily stresses and challenges in our lives. The notion that a new occupant to the oval office will solve all of our struggles in life is somewhat wishful thinking. On the other hand for those folks that are despondent and full of despair, please remember that the United States and its Constitution have been around for a while and tested many times and it still is a strong and proud republic. So to all those that were thinking of sitting shiva, please keep in mind,the sky is not falling.
So the next time we break bread or raise a glass with someone that we have disagreed during this election season, let us take a deep breath and enjoy each other's company. Life is just too important to choose otherwise.