The Real Test Is About To Begin

We are just hours away from learning the name of our next president. I know of no one who will miss this election cycle. It has distinguished itself in numerous ways, perhaps chief among them, convincing us that our process is much too long. However, even while we may question the demands this process places on both the candidate and the electorate, we must realize the uniqueness of our current experience. It is, in fact, the special characteristics of one candidate that colored this cycle and created the stress and fatigue we all feel.  
Yet just as we have been tested by this year’s campaign, so too has our democracy. Basic values that comprise the very fabric of our system of government and way of life have come under assault. Freedom of speech, press and religion have been targeted. The integrity of our electoral process has been challenged. The fairness of our legal system and those charged with administering have been called into question. Finally, the character and physical attributes of all opposition has been attacked. Basic decency has suffered a near mortal blow. Is it any wonder that we are ready for this to finally end?
The final questions we will have to confront, however, will be our real test. Will Donald Trump concede defeat with graciousness and dignity or will he do great damage to the fundamental democratic precept of a “peaceful and orderly transfer of power”? Will those in power in both federal and state office find a way of working together for the good of the nation and shed the destructive partisan and self-serving behavior that has been so characteristic of the past eight years? The election may be over, but the real tests to our democracy are only just beginning.

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