Time to move on to the next game…

Pastor freed used this quote in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, this morning, “Let the healing begin.” (Joe Cocker song)

The same sentiment has been used by President-elect Biden himself and many others since he election was called in Biden’s favor. Certainly, it is important that the healing process take place in America – in our politics, in our rhetoric and in our actions. However, right now, in the minds of far too many people, those words sound like the sanctimonious trash-talk of the victor and not the olive branch that they were probably meant them to be.

Before the healing can begin, the anger in the environment needs to die down. Most times the sentiment on the losing side of any contest/conflict is one of disappointment. The high hopes of persevering to a victory had been dashed; however, if it was perceived as a fair fight, the loser must accept that he was bested that day and move on.

For some this election feels more like a lost football game where the refs made a bad call, or at least the fans think it was a bad call. That feeling was heightened throughout the election campaign by unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud or irregularities. The post-election feeling is most like the reaction to that pass interference call that wasn’t made on the last play of the game, – the play that would have led to victory. A missed call like that most often leads to anger, even if the replay shows it to have been the right call. Usually, in the sports world. by Wednesday of the next week fans have put the last game behind them and focuses upon the next game.

A major difference in this situation, of course, is that we are all in this game. The decisions that were made over the last four years affected us all and the decisions that will be made in the coming four years will affect our lives. Some may say, “Well those last four years under Trump didn’t kill me, so I guess I can survive the next four under Biden”. However, those last four years also contained the COVID-19 virus and many feel that the lack of an adequate National-level response to the pandemic did lead to the deaths of an awful lot of people. The campaign promises of Biden foreshadow a greatly different response to the pandemic – one requiring more sacrifice and discipline than we have yet shown as a nation.

Step one in our collective recovery is probably to admit that many are angry about the election outcome and perhaps more than a little afraid for their future. There is plentiful advice available about dealing with anger, such as

Think before you speak. …

Once you’re calm, express your anger. …

Get some exercise. …

Take a timeout. …

Identify possible solutions. …

Stick with ‘I’ statements (and not “They” statements). …

Use humor to release tension.

All of those things require that one regain control over themselves enough to actually do any of those things. Maybe “Take a timeout” should be at the top of the list.

Once people have curbed their anger a bit, they can move onto dealing with their fears. The advice to identify possible solutions is a great starting point for that. By doing that, you are empowering yourself to become a part of the solution and not to play the role of the victim. Unlike the mythical football game that I used as an example earlier, this “game” called life is never over. That one bad call that you think the refs made is last week’s news and the game goes on.

However, there is a role for everyone in this game, even supporters of opposing viewpoints and solutions. One can get to work supporting candidates for the next election, which for much of the legislative side of government is only two years away. There will be parades to march in again (hopefully next year). There will be local and state-level positions of influence that need to be filled. Of course, there will be tweets and Facebook posts to be made, videos to be uploaded to YouTube and TikTok and  blog posts to be written. These are things that one can be doing, beyond just being angry.

The “healing” that needs to begin is not the abandonment of the opposing views, but rather the reduction of anger and disappointment and finding ways to move on with new actions that one hopes will influence everyone in that direction. It’s sort of like being a loyal football fan of the team that just suffered a big defeat. You move on. You get ready for the next tailgate session and the next game in resolute hope that better days are just ahead.

Perhaps the words from Martin Luther King Jr. that are on a sign in my yard expresses what must be done now – “We must move on with an arduous faith in the future.” Keep the faithit’s Wednesday in America – it’s time to move on. There is a bright future ahead and another game next weekend.

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