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CARMICHAEL: The election is over. Now is time to start the healing.

C

ongratulations. If you’re reading this, you have survived the 2020 presidential election.

Regardless for which candidate you supported and voted, the people have spoken, and for all intents and purposes, the election is over.

Surviving this election was no easy feat. Unless you spent the last year under a rock, you could not avoid being assaulted by the ever-widening division of partisan viewpoints and societal mores that impacted lifelong friendships and even divided families in ways not witnessed on American soil since the Civil War.

Even now, the new administration has begun meeting in preparation for its term, which will begin with the inauguration in January 2021.

However, healing this country, which has been torn asunder, must begin now and in earnest if we are to survive the ongoing challenges of the worldwide pandemic, economic impact, civil and racial unrest.

Make no mistake, the world is watching.

Countries around the globe have rallied to join us in celebration of a new era.

World leaders have sent congratulations to the president-elect, as well as voicing words acknowledging the outstanding efforts of the incumbent and his campaign team.

Americans are being encouraged to move on and to pull together in the ways we have always done in times of crisis since our country’s inception.

Fear, anger and prejudice are every bit as contagious and insidious as any deadly virus. If we don’t move forward and put aside our differences, the contempt and hatred that has been allowed to fester in our society will consume us and destroy this land that we hold dear.

In recent months, we have taken to the streets in record numbers and for a variety of reasons. We have protested civil unrest. We have rallied on both ends of the spectrum. This weekend, millions have taken to the streets in celebration, while still others continue to rail in anger.

The chasm between the polar opposite political parties is as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon, and this divide can only stand to prevent progress and healing. It is imperative that parties on both sides of the aisle seek cooperation and compromise, for it is only when we are one, united force that we can stand against our foes, both seen and invisible.

To quell the tide of the virus that has infected millions worldwide, we must be vigilant now and adhere to the advice of the experts in every aspect of our daily lives.

Our streets must now become silent, except for critical transportation to school, work and to gather necessities. We must physically distance ourselves and wear protective masks, not only to shield ourselves, but to protect others. Yes, that will mean sacrificing non-essential travel, vacations and holiday traditions but it is absolutely critical.

Today (Nov. 9, 2020), the world recorded more than 50 million cases of the coronavirus. More than 10 million of those cases are in the U.S.

With the onset of the holiday season just days away, I encourage you to come together in the ways that matter most, not with huge gatherings and turkey dinners this Thanksgiving, or beneath the mistletoe at Christmas parties, but in quiet reflection, love and in peace in your own homes.

Most importantly, family and friends are our support system during trying times. Heal the rifts caused by differing opinions. Support each other. Love each other again.

The time to heal America is now. Will you do your part?