A Time to Reflect, and Look Forward

For Joe Massaua, a high school senior in Villanova, Pa., the election made him feel excited about what the future could bring …

We have pressing problems to solve now: Covid-19, a recession, racial justice and climate change. America is on a path to be more unified than before; we need to see it through, with actions from our local leaders and those on the national stage. We are one diverse American community. I sincerely hope those on both sides will put politics aside to work for the good of the American people.

… but Drew Currie, writing from Colorado, says there may be no way to patch up the country’s differences.

It’s time to find a way to split officially into two nations. Let’s avoid civil war. Let’s use words to find our way through a peaceful division.

Kate Landry of Hickory, N.C., worries about President Trump’s lasting impact …

It seems like Trump has ripped the Band-Aid off a festering wound of racism, ignorance and all-around anger and hatefulness. I’m sad and discouraged.

… while Martin Sherlock of Naples, Fla., blames the news media.

I have listened to the media bad-mouth and call the president all kinds of names for well over four years. I am waiting to see how you bad-mouth the next president! The media does not have any conservative reporter or staff, which I consider a big problem of division. Mr. Trump is positively correct when he says that it is all fake news.

Lee Cross of Fort Smith, Ark., just wants to get back to not thinking about politics …

I am looking forward to getting off this political roller coaster that we’ve been on for the past week and getting back to the ever-growing stack of must-read journals and want-to-read books. And since the Christmas holidays will be very much subdued this year it is my fervent hope that for once we can observe the season of Advent the way it should be observed. All of us need time for peaceful reflection and — no matter what our beliefs — hopes and prayers for the Biden-Harris administration.

… but Tom Levy of Oakland, Calif., says the fight is far from over …

For those of us who wrote postcards and letters, and phone- and text-banked to voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia to get out the vote — the election is decidedly NOT over. That’s because two Senate seats in Georgia are still up for grabs in runoff elections scheduled for Jan. 5. Take a break. Sleep in. And rest up. Because those of us determined to do our best to help elect Democrats to the Senate in Georgia are about to jump in across the country.

… and Richie Feathers of Boston is already worried about the race after the runoffs.

Instead of basking in the victory for longer than a day, I’m already worried about 2022, which, if history is any indication, will now skew red. This anticipated rebuke of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be especially frustrating because voters will claim not enough got done, but turn in their votes for Republican senators who ensure not enough will get done.

Sam Fisher, of Katy, Texas, sees some hope for political dialogue close to home …

I’m looking forward to the knot hopefully disappearing from my stomach and my hair ceasing to fall out! I’m hopeful because my oh-so-dear friend and my oh-so-dear cousin have polar opposite views from mine, politically speaking, and through all of this, we are working hard to listen to one another, learn from one another, respect one another, love one another and find common ground. And dadgum it, if we can do it, the whole nation should be able to!

… and Darrell Sabin, of Moraga, Calif., sees the healthy functioning of a two-party system.

I look at this election and feel more comfortable than ever that our form of government will last the test of time. This election showed that we have two healthy parties. The Republicans and the Democrats set records in voter turnout. Our country fortunately has both Republicans and Democrats. Neither party has all the answers. Both parties are wrong and both parties are right “some of the time.” One party corrects the other party. Messy — but healthy.

But Jo Baxter of Palm City, Fla., sees hopeless divisions …

I don’t see much hope in this divided, mean environment, when both sides can’t even agree on the facts of a given situation. I am thrilled about Biden’s election, but scared by the sheer numbers of Trump’s support. Trump may eventually move out of the White House, but he has sullied the Oval Office forever.

… and Jeanne-Marie Lane of Everett, Wash., sees an uphill battle ahead.

I am not actually looking for stupendous, noteworthy moments for the next four years. I am hoping for a return to communication and actions resulting from willingness to compromise on both sides of issues, because Trump won’t be in the middle causing continual conflict and mistrust.

It may take the next four years for all of us to recover, even slightly. To return to respect for each other. We’ve been in a war zone and it may take more than years to feel better about ourselves and each other and recover.

Ginny Swart, of Cape Town, simply wonders whether the nearly $14 billion spent on the election could have been put to better use …

The mind boggles. They could have fixed climate change for that. Fixed Iran. Fixed the health service. All that money wasted.

… and Lynn Alvey of Milwaukee speaks for all of us — especially those of us at On Politics.

Has it really been a week since the election? Why does it seem like years?

Readers’ responses were edited and condensed. Thanks, as always, to my colleague Isabella Grullón Paz for her help.