As I write this column on Tuesday, I’m in Washington, D.C. Lots of windows in the city and door fronts are boarded up, stores are closed, the streets are quiet for now, hotels are empty. I flew up here and had layovers in quiet airports with no retail or restaurants open.  

In D.C., some of the store fronts are boarded up due to the fear of impending violence.

I find myself constantly checking Twitter and seeing threats of violence that could happen on or after Election Day. I’m not sure what the result will be, who will be our president as you read this column, but I know this: Election Day in my past wasn’t one in which each side threatened violence and leaders condoned it.

On my way here, I listened to various podcasts on the potential of violence and the explosion of gun sales. Most people are buying guns and learning to use them out of fear, not because they have a plan to cause harm. The New York Times ran a story on the potential for violence on Election Day as a means of voter suppression. 

Part of a democracy is a peaceful transition of power or a concession by the losing party. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for former Vice President Al Gore to concede the presidential election to George W. Bush, but he did. U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney offered a conciliatory concession speech. Nor could it have been easy for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to concede an election that people all thought she was assured of winning.  But she did. 

No matter the outcome, our democracy is based upon the process working for the greater good. 

What happened to the excitement of Election Days or to an election season with a civil but spirited exchange of ideas and policies? As each party moves to the right and to the left, there seems to be little moderating. A strong conservative party would be good for a liberal party, each can try to moderate the other. 

My oldest daughter is living in D.C. But this year no matter the outcome, she will not be in the historical city celebrating if the candidate she supported were to win. That’s due to the pandemic and due to impending violence.

I’m not sure what the next four years will bring, but my hope is that the next Election Day will be exciting, people will feel more free to express their opinions, have open, civil discussions about policy issues, and celebrate the outcome without the fear of getting sick or experiencing violence or experiencing the threats of voter suppression.

Ellen Kreth is publisher of the Madison County Record and can be reached at