Are we going to come out of this election with one candidate having a clear mandate?

Is anybody going to win the enough votes so that America knows what direction to take?

I don’t see this quadrennial exercise being very good for America, this time around. I don’t think too terribly many people have been convinced to change their minds. I see lots of people dug into our own corners, with very little incentive — win or lose — to reach out to the other corner come Wednesday. I see lots of verbiage feeding lots of enmity feeding lots of long-term bad feelings about people we used to think highly of. There are lots of breached friendships, lots of bruised feelings, lots of broken familial relations. This timeline seems burned to a crisp.

I don’t see a path to healing. I don’t see a way forward, or Forward, if you will. It seems like both sides have so completely de-legitimized their opponents’ candidates as to make it impossible for them to find any support from the other ‘team.’ If your opponent’s supporters are stupid, or murderers, or haters, or racists, or liars — well, how do you reach out to those people, having just characterized them that way? And then there’s the folks on Third Team or Fourth Team, or Team No. How will any President bring these disparate views into an America that works for all?

How will we lay down our rhetoric, and our virtual arms, and our name-calling and nastiness, to come together to solve this country’s problems come Wednesday? That, to me, has been the most insidious effect of all this money in politics now: not that Team A or Team B has profited so well by it, but that the money has reached so deeply into all of our lives that we’re not ready to let go and make post-election America work. I don’t see any change from the status quo but more polarization, more anti-, more hard work bringing down the others next time.

If this money has taken us into the realm of The Permanent Campaign, when will there be any time to get anything done? When will the Winners have a chance to implement their Plans? When will the Losers lie back, nurse their wounds, and give the Winners an opportunity to succeed — or fail? Without that window of opportunity to accomplish something (or to prove your solutions are a failure) it seems to me nothing gets done.

And getting nothing done, when it becomes the goal of one team or the other, hurts America. When we’re hurting, we’re not healing.