MINOT, N.D. — One challenge the columnists of the future may never understand, given the decline of print and the ascendance of digital, is writing a post-election piece with a pre-election deadline.
I'm typing these words on Monday morning, but you won't be reading them until Wednesday when we may or more likely may not know the winner of the 2020 elections.
What can I say to you, readers of the future, who may be experiencing violence and bedlam created by election uncertainty and entrenched ideologues who refuse to accept that, in a society like ours, sometimes the other people get to be in charge?
The great thing about an election, in our country, is that there's always another election coming.
It's something we seem to have forgotten.
In 2009, while newly elected President Barack Obama was taunting Republicans with "I won," Democratic pundit James Carville wrote a book titled, "40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation."
By 2011, Republicans had won back control of the House. By 2015, the GOP had control of the Senate. Obama spent the last years of his administration trying to work with the Republicans he'd been taunting.
Not that Republicans learned from Obama-era hubris.
After the GOP took over Congress in 2015, Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, blew past Carville's previous hubris. "We're as back to a majority as any of us have seen in our lifetimes. It may be a hundred-year majority," he said.
It was a two-year majority.
Republicans lost control of the U.S. House in the 2016 election, and may well lose the Senate this year.
This bipartisan hubris is born of certain propensities in the political industry, made up of politicians and operatives and lobbyists, to treat each election as "the most important in our lifetimes." A winner-take-all slugfest upon which our life, liberty, and happiness depend.
It's been going on for decades, and the consequence is a thoroughly polarized electorate that is terrified of letting the opposition govern.
That needs to stop.
Whoever wins this week should get to govern. It is the duty of the losing side to hold the winners accountable and rebut their arguments while preparing a case for new leadership and different policies for the next election.
Because, again, there's always another one coming.
What we shouldn't need are preparations for violence in places like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. where businesses are boarding up windows, and cops are laying in preparations because the losing side might riot.
Losing can be a bitter pill to swallow. Accepting the leadership of people you believe will promote harmful policies is no easy thing to do.
But that's the price of living in a society like ours.
If you want respect when your people are in power, it has to start with respecting the other side's opportunity to govern.
To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com
Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.