MINOT, N.D. — There is a palpable feeling which permeates the social unrest we're living through which supposes that all will be well if the abstainers from good sense on the other side of the political divide are vanquished.
It ain't so.
Winning elections is not the same as governing.
The virus will not be affected by a change in majorities in the Senate. The divides over law enforcement, and the criminal justice system, will not be bridged simply because there's a new occupant the White House.
The way these issues are reported in the news media may change — even good reporters struggle to be fair in newsrooms that, not only lack ideological diversity, but fail to value it — but the problems themselves will endure until we decide to work together to solve them.
"But Rob," you'll argue, "different people in elected office will mean different polices."
Maybe, but which do you suppose is the more likely scenario? That those who win will begin approving budgets and passing legislation to address our country's leadership vacuum? Or will it be another session of sour grapes, with the losing party refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the other side's victories, endlessly calling for resignation and investigation and impeachment?
There are many who believe that winning elections is the goal, and it is not. Good governance is the goal, and that outcome requires recognition of something that's seemingly been forgotten by many.
There are no permanent political victories.
No majority in our system of government is forever.
The people on the losing side don't disappear when the campaign is over. They become the minority you have to work with to get things done.
How likely is that if you spent the election cycle calling them racists and criminals and worse?
This is no recent phenomena. When it comes to boorish leadership our tempestuous President Trump is a gold medalist, no doubt, but remember when the far more subtly obstinate President Obama was taunting Republicans, shortly after inauguration, with two words: "I" and "won."
Contemporaneous to this, in 2009, political strategist and pundit James Carville wrote a book titled, "40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation."
The Democratic supermajority he was touting lasted for two years. By 2010, Republicans had won control of the House. By 2014, the GOP had won control of the Senate. Obama spent the last years of his administration trying to work with the Republicans he'd been taunting.
This belief that each new election is the most important ever — the one which will finally silence the opposition — needs to end.
After every election, we act surprised to learn that the dissenters are still around and still want to be heard, and are actually afforded certain rights under our system of government.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.