After the smoke clears

Hopefully tomorrow will see the smoke clear from around many elections – local, in-state and in other states – and permit the real world to intrude back into our lives.

A few weeks ago, Minot Daily News opined that we here in North Dakota, with our good neighbor instincts and basic decency, weren’t likely to debase ourselves and act in the ugly, hateful, dishonest ways so many other people – candidates and voters – have been around the country this election cycle. That kind of paper was for the intolerant, for people who didn’t know their neighbors, for people devoid of a history of having to work together to build communities out of a tough environment.

Still, as campaigns in North Dakota got nastier toward the end of the cycle, it does give moment to pause.

If our candidates are willing to engage in this kind of behavior and tactics, are we really going to prove ourselves better than so many of the hateful people parading around cable news networks?

When races are finished being determined (and the quicker the better), can people come back together to address important issues of the day and set aside those that are only intended to divide and create rancor?

Can we?

Just a few weeks ago, it seemed North Dakota would be one of the places able to find its way back to civility no matter how unpleasant many races in today’s election were. Only things got uglier as probable results came into focus, as some campaigns became desperate and thus willing to engage in some of the nastiest of tactics.

Today, one has to wonder.

Will we remember the stronger ties that bind us more than the stress fractures that divide us?

We should know soon.