After A Divisive Campaign, Healing Can Take Time And Patience

After A Divisive Campaign, Healing Can Take Time And Patience

11:54am Nov 11, 2016
Artist Derrick Monk works on a chalk mural at Wake the Vote, a nonpartisan election watch party Tuesday night in Winston-Salem. (Sean Bueter/WFDD)

The election of Republican Donald Trump to the presidency this week marks the end of a campaign season that lasted a year and a half.

It was an often divisive journey: frustrating or downright upsetting for people of all political stripes.

WFDD’s Sean Bueter talked to Dr. Sam Gladding, a counseling professor at Wake Forest University, about how people can begin to heal post-election.

Interview Highlights

Dr. Sam Gladding, Wake Forest University (Courtesy WFU)

On the surprise aspect of the election outcome magnifying people’s emotions:

People who were expecting…or hoping for that surprise, they are more elated today than they would have been otherwise. Those who were shocked or set back by the surprise, they are probably more upset, depressed, angry, whatever than they would have been otherwise.

On how to move on after such a divisive campaign season:

I think probably everyone is ready to move forward or wanting to move forward. I think it's going to take some time for people on both sides to be ready to do something different. Those who are elated and who are pleased with the outcome, it's going to take them some time to figure out how do they go forward in a positive way without alienating their neighbors.

Those who were disappointed or shocked or depressed, they're going to have to take some time to grieve. They're going to have to take some time to assess their feelings. They're going to have to decide what they want to do from here. And they don't have control over what happened but they do have control over what they do from here personally and somewhat collectively.

On what people can do to mend fences with friends and neighbors:

I think one of the things we can do to rebuild relationships is to realize that people have different opinions, people have different preferences, and that while we might not agree with them we can certainly find some common ground with them about other matters, especially those that don't relate to politics.

So we might find common ground in areas where we like to read, or movies we like to see, or school matters, if there are children involved. Or sports. And finding that we can have some good relationships with people that don't involve politics and basically staying away from those areas that we know are going to be painful or disruptive or that just aren't going to bring us closer to anyone.

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