We have almost arrived at what Americans call “money time.” A nail-biting election campaign to many is coming to a zenith with the US election day, when the course that the country will follow will be determined. Public health and safety, great economic challenges, the coronavirus, social fractures, and natural calamities are only some of the concerns afflicting the Americans. My piece of advice to whoever wins the election is, first and foremost, to gather America’s leaders together from every state and territory in order to reach a unified decision on how to eradicate the coronavirus from society and the virus of hatred from people’s hearts.
With more than 90 million ballots already cast nationwide, the massive early in-person and mail-in voting has already surpassed two-thirds of the ballots cast in the 2016 presidential election. This remarkable level of engagement is paralleled globally as countries around the world follow the American elections as if they were their own, since so much is at stake internationally—in trade, cooperation, development, security, and the advancement of peace, among other things.
Domestically, it is clear that eradicating the Covid-19 pandemic should be the number one priority. A nation free from the grip of the coronavirus will have not only positive repercussions for people’s physical well-being, but it would also provide the foundation for building a mindful and productive society where all basic needs are covered. In the meantime, American society seems to be nearing a boiling point. The nerves of the people are so frayed and circumstances so volatile that any issue could ignite the powder keg of people’s increasingly extreme attitudes from one side or the other right after the election. Therefore, unifying the fragmented pieces of the society is of paramount importance to attain social stability.
Once a special multidisciplinary board of experts is formed by whoever is elected, including leaders of religions and beliefs, economists and scientists, politicians and journalists, all without exception, I would advise them to select a few cities in different parts of the country to pilot test implementation of programs aimed at unifying people above disparities. As test cases, their progress would need regular monitoring and evaluation in order to see what adjustments are needed amidst all the various kinds of situations that might surface, in order to create, sustain, and grow a positive cohesive atmosphere. There is no downside to implementing such an experiment. Rather, it holds the potential to create a new model for far-reaching improvements in social health and collective happiness.
As deepening polarization has given rise to more and more outbursts and anxiety in America, it is precisely this bleak landscape that can act as the necessary backdrop against which to display a new positive shift. I do not think a simple gentleman’s handshake will ease the tensions between factions of the political spectrum. The deep chasm between sides will require a deeper insightful and more fundamental solution. It is not realistic to expect this kind of ideological change overnight or to try to impose one view over others; everyone must be welcome to remain with their own positions. What will make a difference in unifying American society (or any society) is learning how to gain the ability to rise above the differences for the common welfare.
I indeed see a lot of potential in American society—its pioneering and innovative spirit, its values of equality and freedom of expression, and its vast influence throughout the world—to face the challenge of the social division it is experiencing and to realize that in unity everything will become much better for all. In short, as soon as the lights of the campaign are turned off and the day after begins, America should make haste to rid itself of the mutual animosity that has taken over the nation and to build together an umbrella of unity and love that covers the whole society with a warm spirit of consideration and concern.