Charles E. Richardson

Looking past Election Day and into the future of our country

wmarshall@macon.com

That’s it. No more. I’m finished. No more talk from me about who will or won’t win the presidential election that — counting today — is just 17 days away.

No, I’m going to spend my energy thinking about how to begin the healing process Nov. 9. You won’t hear any Hallelujahs, I-Told-You-So’s, or high-fives coming from this direction, because the chasm this campaign has created makes the Grand Canyon look like a swimming hole. The fabric of our nation has been stretched — and yes — torn.

How do we start? I’ve got an idea and it comes by way of a Hezekiah Walker song, “I Need You To Survive.” The words carry a simple but powerful message:

I need you, you need me.

We're all a part of God's body.

Stand with me, agree with me.

We're all a part of God's body.

It is his will, that every need be supplied.

You are important to me, I need you to survive.

You are important to me, I need you to survive.

(Refrain)

I pray for you, You pray for me.

I love you, I need you to survive.

I won't harm you with words from my mouth.

I love you, I need you to survive.

It is his will, that every need be supplied.

You are important to me, I need you to survive.

I particularly believe that if we look each other in the eye and say, “I’ll pray for you,” and I promise not to, “harm you with words from my mouth,” that we can get through this. If I won’t harm you with words from my mouth, that means I won’t send out demeaning tweets or post vicious comments on one of the many social media platforms. It means the rhetoric we use should always seek the best, not the worse, in others.

If I tell someone, “I need you to survive” “I love you,” what am I saying? Are there qualifiers in those statements. Are we saying, “I love you (only if you’re a Republican) or I need you to survive (only If you’re a Democrat)?”

Here’s our struggle in the coming weeks, months and years. Some of us will be walking around with our lips poked out because our candidate didn’t win. Others will look at the supporters of a particular person and decide they aren’t worth spitting on, much less the time and effort needed to repair the relationship.

One of the 12 affirmations of the Optimist Creed is also appropriate here (They are all appropriate, but I like this one): “Promise yourself to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.”

I’m not suggesting any of this is going to be easy. We’ve been punched in the face by the ferocity of this campaign during a time when our nation is going through a period of demographic upheaval. It would be very easy — and for good reason — for people to carry a chip on their shoulders. I can’t do that.

Last week, God gave me the grace to see 65 years. I’m not going to spend my remaining time on Earth letting hatred live rent free in my head. If somebody doesn’t like me because of the color of my skin, that’s their problem, not mine. Let them take ownership of the sickness they allowed this campaign to bring to the surface. Let them take a long look in their own mirror — if they have the guts to do it.

What I fear, however, is that some folks may be inclined to be sore losers, and usually, sore losers don’t want a fair fight. They are cowardly terrorists who prey on the innocent. They want to take the country back to a time when they could wreak their havoc with impunity. Let me say clearly: Those days are gone, never to return. There are too many good white, black, brown and yellow people ready to drive that kind of sickness back into the hell hole where it had been hiding. They have a name. They call themselves Americans.

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