It’s time to start turning down the heat on the current presidential campaign.
No, we’re not talking about the rhetoric being used by the candidates themselves, although a more rational approach there certainly couldn’t hurt.
We’re talking about the temperature in the discussions average Americans are having in their own homes and neighborhoods.
We’re talking about the mother who posted a message in a social media group about the question her middle school-aged daughter asked when she came home from school one day.
The girl wanted to know if her mom would take down the yard sign supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. It seems some kids at school had spotted the sign and were bullying the girl.
The advice this mother got was all over the board.
Some said she should absolutely not back down. This is a free country, and we all have a right to support the candidate of our choosing. We should not be forced to sit in silence because of a few middle-schoolers acting like middle-schoolers.
Others were less militant. Middle school is tough enough without Mom making it worse by flaunting her political positions.
It’s a tough call. No one should be telling young people that the way to deal with a bully is to knuckle under.
At the same time, this mother should ask herself: How much difference is this sign really making? Will it influence a single vote?
The answer is likely no.
The vast majority of Americans who will cast ballots in this election have already made up their minds. The voters the candidates are now trying to convince represent a small slice of the electorate, and not one of them is likely to make the choice on the basis of a campaign sign.
It’s time for voters on both sides of this campaign to start preparing themselves for life after the election.
The sun will come up as usual on Nov. 4, and that guy with the other candidate’s sign will still be living down the street. Your crazy Uncle Bob will still show up at family gatherings.
People on both sides have been saying for months that this might be the most consequential election of our lifetimes. It is the civic duty of every American to study the issues and cast an informed ballot.
It’s also important to keep things in perspective.
We’ve been having these elections every four years since the very first days of this country. In the end, one side wins, and the other side loses.
Life goes on, and we find a way to live together.
That’s the American way.
The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Indiana