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Harris Blackwood: Maintain respect when it comes to politics
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In the online world, I have lots of friends with varying political views.

I enjoy a spirited political conversation with some. With others, I avoid any discussion of the subject.

Eight years ago, I had friends who said the election of President Barack Obama was the beginning of the end of the world. This week, I had other friends who suggested the election of Donald Trump is the beginning of the end of the world.

I had a sincere hope the end of the election would bring an end to the verbal sparring that has been going on for what seems like forever. It has not.

Regardless of how you voted, it is over. There is not going to be a do-over. If that was possible, I’m sure the Cleveland Indians would be begging for one.

I know people who say Obama was not their president. A few people elected as our chief executive were not my first choice. After the election, I felt the right thing to do is support our country and our president.

I started hearing the same thing about Trump this week. The people spoke and he is now the president-elect.

A number of celebrity types have said they would move out of the United States if Trump were elected. That falls under the “take my ball and run” attitude.

If you didn’t like the outcome of the election, maybe it’s time to get involved. Make sure your member of Congress knows exactly how you feel. Go to the town meetings. Write them a letter (remember letters). Take you negative angst and turn it around and contribute to the good of your community. Work on a Habitat for Humanity home, mentor a child in a school and help an elderly person get to a grocery store or doctor’s appointment.

And, yes, express your disapproval of issues in a firm, but diplomatic, way. You might find you and your elected representatives can respectfully find some kind of common ground on a matter that’s important to you.

People are using all sorts of derogatory terms to describe those who supported an opposing candidate. A person supports a candidate because their views tend to match. Calling someone a hurtful name doesn’t help build a community.

In just about every neighborhood there is a coffee group, usually men, who get together in the morning and debate the issues of the day. I have seen them offer a little good-natured ribbing of someone with a dissenting view, but they welcome him to the table everyday and miss him when he’s not there.

In this year’s election, plenty of folks were on both sides who I disagreed with. But calling them derogatory terms doesn’t accomplish any good and I stayed away from it.

I hope our elected officials have heard the message that while we want them to stand up for their beliefs, there is also room for compromise at the table.

Our nation is almost evenly divided among parties and unless we find a way to work things out reasonably, our nation will suffer.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on