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Page last updated on July 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Another presidential election has run its course. After a campaign that generated unprecedented attacks and bitterness across the political spectrum, along with illegal foreign interventions and an October surprise from the FBI, Election Day brought the biggest upset in modern history. As in 2000, the popular vote winner didn't win the Electoral College. Some are jubilant. Others are in shock and anxious. It's natural and appropriate to take some time to let it all sink in.

In America, campaigns are followed by peaceful and orderly transitions to new administrations. That is what we do, and do well. Passions of the campaigns shift, to governing, or to advocating for issues and change. As Bob Dole said after losing a campaign, "The President was my opponent and not my enemy." President Obama described campaigns as intra-mural contests - "we're all on the same team after."

But no doubt this campaign was extraordinary. More than any to which I've been witness, this national campaign left deep scars and tangible fears. Young kids have expressed concern about their futures, or worry about the safety of certain of their friends. Whole populations have felt stigmatized or marginalized or threatened.

There is much work to be done to bring a divided country closer together. And there also is much work to be done ensuring that our next President, Congress and Governor safeguard our foundational constitutional values and liberties. And protect the shared treasures of our public schools, our parks and environment, our health care and social safety net, and so much more that we have built together over the generations.

Deep in my bones I know our country - and our community - are stronger because of our diversity. Our differences assure change and learning, creativity and energy. Those differences also demand respect, civility, and empathy. This past campaign had some terrible instances and words lacking respect, civility, and empathy.

But I know this. This election did not change the heart of our Bloomington. Our community still embodies the same commitments to equality, opportunity, diversity, justice, and freedom that we had last Monday. We will continue to work optimistically together to keep improving this place for people from all walks of life, of all races, from all parts of the globe, from all faith traditions, from whatever sexual orientation or gender, speaking whatever language at home.

Bloomington will stay Bloomington, regardless of this election. Remember:

  • Our City scored 100% in the 2016 Human Rights Index.

  • Our community has a long, great tradition of women in leadership.

  • Groups like Bloomington United, the Human Rights Commission, the Safe and Civil City program, the Monroe County NAACP, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on the Status of Black Males, and Stand Up for Racial Justice - just to name a few - join together to promote and ensure equal protection and opportunity for every person in Bloomington.

  • Over 400 social service agencies work to improve our environment, our healthcare, our services for children, our schools and even our pets.

We have worked in the past with national and state administrations with different values, and we will do so again now. Bloomington has been and will be a proud beacon of progressive values and actions. That will be especially important with the national and state politics coming in the years ahead.

Be particularly mindful of our children and youth. Let them know that the checks and balances of government work. Reassure them that our nation has been around for more than 200 years and that our democracy is the envy of the world. Let today's anxiety fuel tomorrow's resolve to work for progress. Remind them that our community cares for them and protects them all. Every one.

The road ahead may not always be clear. But I am confident we will find a good and true path together.

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill