To all my friends who are frustrated and angry with the outcome of the presidential election, I offer this… Please consider the term reconcile. We typically overlook that there are two very different dispositions to that word. One is to become reconciled “with” a thing and the second is to become reconciled “to” a thing. The first is more of a mutual disposition where we perhaps forgive or get past something that has happened. It is most often mutual — between two parties — and typically includes forgiveness by one party of another party for egregious behavior to which that second party has shown remorse. I do not think anyone expects that outcome here…
The second however — to become reconciled “to” something — is very different. It is usually only personal. Most times, you are the only party to such a reconciliation. It is most often a more private act; part of personally coming to grips with something that is truly outside our purview. While I may forgive someone that has done something to me (to become reconciled with a thing) perhaps for a wrong that has occurred, more often real peace of mind is found when I am able to become reconciled “to” something I cannot change; or at least cannot change with any immediacy or with a short-term resolution.
So, if I am the only party to a reconciliation “to” something, why does it matter? Well, if that thing takes too strong a hold on you, it can become an obsession. Or worse, it can consume you in ways that damage you. And as the only party to such a situation, you become the sole victim of your own obsession. Beginning to sound familiar?
So, as we take stock of our situation and this new reality, you may be faced with a very uncomfortable truth today. It didn’t work out the way you had hoped. It didn’t go as planned. This is not at all what you had expected. In fact, it is beyond disappointing to the point of disillusionment and disbelief. And yet it is… And furthermore, it is going to be… And it is going to be for at least another four years. So, this uncomfortable truth is not who won or lost, but what am I going to do now? How will I respond? How will I safeguard my beliefs – my principles – what I hold sacred… What I will not allow to be put at risk by obsessing or finding this situation “irreconcilable”?
Now that is the practical reality. Unless you really are moving to another country, you need to reconcile. So then, your choices are to reconcile yourself with this circumstance or reconcile yourself to your new circumstance; your new situation. Unless you are able to reconcile, you will remain angry, obsessive, and likely, to some extent, self-destructive. I for one will not do this. I will reconcile myself to my new circumstance.
We are bigger than any one person. We are a nation of laws. We are a representative democracy where our voices matter – and by your own disappointment, it matters now more than ever. This new circumstance requires real patriotism. The kind that can be the disciplined, astute, respectful but vigilant opposition that gives balance to the new order. This is where I intend to focus my energy. This will be my obsession.
Therefore, I hope you intend to reconcile yourself with this new reality; to remain and be a part of the solution. If you concede nothing but an election, you have lost nothing… but an election. You can, should and must stand your ground — for everything else you hold dear. If not, then not only have you lost an election, but you have truly lost… and then perhaps you really ought to go… Because we are made of tougher stuff than that. And binding these wounds is going to require the very best of us all.