We expected this to be somewhat of a dog fight. But we didn’t expect the dogs to still be howling three days after the election. Yet here we are.

As of this writing on Friday evening, the winner hadn’t been decided yet. Votes were still being counted. But whether we have a decision when you’re reading this and whether it’s Trump or Biden, all of our collective nerves are a little jangly. We’re a little wrung out, just by virtue of how close it was and how painstakingly slow the process was — and all of that after a drawn-out campaign period full of vitriol and accusations in the midst of a pandemic.

So, how to soothe? How to heal now that it’s over, or almost over or whatever the case may be today?

This was one of the most contentious and downright ugly political campaigns, at least in recent memory. Beyond what was happening on the national stage, it revealed things about family members and longtime friends that maybe we didn’t know and don’t necessarily like.

It forced us to take honest inventory and maybe face things about ourselves that we didn’t know or didn’t want to know were lurking in our psyches. And it ruined its fair share of holidays, family dinners and budding relationships.

Many people consider the coronavirus pandemic, with its isolation and “stop the world” sensibility, to be something of a starting-over point, a purge of sorts. A time to take stock and re-evaluate the things we want, need and will or won’t tolerate.

The same can be said of the election. There was turmoil, and then the country waited in a fog of uncertainty and hope from both sides and in many cases prayerful anticipation. Turmoil could erupt again over the final verdict but, for right now, for the most part, we’re floating in a cloud of “what if.”

It’s a good time to reboot. Here are a couple of things to think about:

• Assess those relationships that might have been put to the test. Your social media feed has seen its share of posts saying things like “I’ve had to unfriend so many people because they support Trump” or “Well, I guess I hate Uncle Bob now because he’s a Biden-loving liberal socialist hippie.”

It might seem petty to detach from a friend, coworker or family member over political beliefs. But if you’re there, this is a good time to honestly assess the value of those relationships. If you give it a good think and feel it best to reconnect, do it. Reach out honestly and offer to bury any hatchets.

• Did “your” candidate lose? Get politically involved to help representatives of your values and beliefs win next time. Feel like issues you care about didn’t get a fair shake? Find an organization to support with your time, talent and/or treasure that helps to solve the problems that affect you directly or move you on behalf of others.

Politics is a big, big machine. So is government. Aside from asserting our superpower by casting a vote, there’s not much regular folks can do to influence them once the winners take their thrones. Not on their level. But on a personal level, we can shine by connecting honestly with the world around us.

As the sun sets on this swamp of political unpleasantry, a little light is just what we need to shake off the mud and move forward, no matter who comes out the winner.

• Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner: 409.683.5227; Margaret.Gardner@galvnews.com

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Margaret joined The Daily New in December 2019, bringing more than 20 years of editorial experience to the team. A Philadelphia native, she lives in Galveston County with her husband, Steve, and their dog Nanook.

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(5) comments

Carlos Ponce

"But we didn’t expect the dogs to still be howling three days after the election." You didn't...... but everyone else did, Margaret!

Bailey Jones

Americans are much more alike than not. Our political parties and their media surrogates amplify those differences. Democrats can never be Republicans, and conservatives can never be liberals. But what we can do is set aside the labels and talk about policies. There is a lot of agreement there. We all want to take care of our veterans. There is overwhelming support for things like pre-existing condition coverage, expanding our manufacturing base, rebuilding the last century's infrastructure, and building the infrastructure for the new century. We have a pandemic to end and a recession to ameliorate. We need to soothe the wounds caused by social injustice in our institutions. This is where the debate needs to be - as Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, "Great minds discuss ideas."

Dan Freeman

[thumbup][thumbup]

Lisa Gray

You are so correct Bailey. We do want mostly the same things. The trust levels between the parties are in the toilet though and I don't know how we can do it. The rhetoric from some on the Left has left a permanent bad taste in my mouth as I am sure Democrats are offended by what is said by the Right. It is sad, but I think you are right, we have more in common as people than not. We need divine intervention here.

Charlotte O'rourke

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