After a divisive election, how can we heal?

Tampa, FL -- When this election is over, what next?

There's been so much division that we wondered how to start bringing the country back together, and started by speaking with people on the political frontlines. Campaign workers, who were out there in force Monday, the first day of early voting in Florida.

“You might not like who wins, but this is who you have to support,” suggested Christi Zettel, campaigning in front of a polling place in South Tampa.

But most we spoke with conceded that’s highly unlikely.

So others recommend hitting the Pause button. A sort of political ceasefire. 

“A National Day of respect the day afterwards,” suggested campaign worker Spencer Bell.

Wendy Dogling, also campaigning for her candidate, liked that idea.

“You know, invoke a day of just love. And acceptance. Of everybody,” she said.

To work together some suggested starting with what you have in common.

Campaign volunteer Gab Rosenthal said admittedly there’s very little of it this time around. But on the flipside, she said, it should make it that much easier to identify. 

“There is like an underlying kind of – this is what we should be doing as good people,” said Rosenthal.

If you still can't put aside differences for yourself, some say consider the future. Our kids and grandkids.

“And if we don't do something really good now, and we're not leaving nothing for the future,” said campaign volunteer George Vallejo.

Unfortunately, longtime political watchers say it's taken about 20 years to get to this point and we simply won't heal overnight. 

“Whoever loses, their supporters will say well, either the system was wrecked or there was fraud of some sort,” said USF Political Science Professor Susan MacManus.

MacManus blames the fracturing we’ve seen over the years on traditional and social media - fueling a lack of respect and trust.

The resulting political cynicism, especially among young people, she says, might be tempered by true bi-partisanship in the hundreds days of the next administration.

“If it doesn't happen, we are right back to a divisive America. Not much getting done. More negativity, and even worse than that, less participation in politics and voting,” she said.


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