Opinion

In a time of crisis, Clinton and Trump could heal us with a unifying gesture

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton ought to meet again when the election outcome is known, shake hands and start the healing process in New York in a joint appearance. Their post election parties will be taking place just a few blocks away from each other. (AP)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton ought to meet again when the election outcome is known, shake hands and start the healing process in New York in a joint appearance. Their post election parties will be taking place just a few blocks away from each other. (AP) AP

I am making a plea for a highly improbable magnanimous proposal as the 2016 presidential election returns begin to define the outcome.

Somebody is going to win Tuesday. And somebody is going to lose.

No matter who fills those roles, both of the major party candidates will have a job to do — a critical task that one, or both, will hate and can't even think about now. Yet it must happen immediately.

Every moment spent basking in victory or pouting in defeat will only delay the duty Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump must undertake post haste to unify the country after one of the most contentious elections in modern history.

If either is worthy of the presidency, they will recognize this and make bringing the country together their No. 1 mission on election night, the following day — and each day going forward. They must muzzle transition teams and moderate victory dances until the winner makes a humble, yet gracious statement about being entrusted with the mantle of Unifier-in-Chief.

Then the loser must climb the highest road of all and muster the poise to make an unselfish and sincere concession speech, admitting defeat and pledging support. And then walk away after all this.

As both Clinton and Trump will be awaiting election returns at staging parties in Midtown Manhattan venues Tuesday evening, the possibility of a profound and powerful joint appearance is an option worthy of consideration.

I know, I know. It’s a naive stretch, but worth floating because it flat out could avert an ugly evening of unrest and ideological clashes before they even start. Though little has been done to douse the vitriol over the last 19 months, doing everything and anything to avoid trouble is always worth it.

Alternatives to this scenario could make for hazardous history. The possibility of violence — before, during or after the election — are just veiled threats and bad dreams as I write this. But those awful outcomes exist and are being weighed by all levels of law enforcement in every corner of the nation.

We are already in a crisis. We don't need to prolong it. We need to prevent it.

At some undisclosed location between the Clinton party at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and the Trump party at the New York Hilton Midtown, is an opportunity to take the first step in our national healing.

I don’t care if it is unheard of, unprecedented, unpopular and unrealistic —magnanimous proposals usually are. But those who have the candidates’ ears ought to at least suggest it.

Robert Ehlert: 208-377-6437, @IDS_HelloIdaho

  Comments