By the Way

Election 2016 is almost over. Now what?

I honestly didn’t think that “Threatening to kill people I disagree with is bad” would be a controversial position.

Then I saw a photo of a man wearing a shirt that said, “Rope. Tree. Journalism. Some assembly required.”

Welcome to the 2016 election.

The election is almost over. So what happens after?

What happens to the overheated rhetoric of division? Does everything go back to the way it was, with people re-friending each other on Facebook and tossing out grudges along with their political yard signs? Or has something fundamentally shifted in a way we can’t come back from?

John Hilton, a 71-year-old Ocean Springs resident who is retired from the U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin, isn’t optimistic.

“I’m afraid that the rancor will continue,” he said. “Already talk has begun about a permanent hold on Supreme Court nominations. Each party appears to want to ensure that the other party gets nothing passed through Congress. Sad, but my belief is the do-nothing government will still be there.”

Mervin Sonnier said valid concerns have arisen during this election cycle and confidence in the political process has been shaken.

“These issues cannot, must not, be dismissed, swept under the rug and shrugged off under the old saws ‘it’s the rough and tumble of politics,’ and ‘politics is dirty,’ ” he said. “These issues must be resolved. We are a divided nation, divided like I personally have not experienced before. Sure, we can probably survive the tumult this time, but what about next time? These issues are not going away, not for me. Only after the public’s concerns are addressed and resolved can we have reconciliation.”

Amy Hahn Gillen, a 37-year-old paralegal from Slidell, said there will be speculation about the FBI investigation by whichever side loses, even after the election.

“This election will go down in history as the first for many things,” she said. “I hope and pray that something good comes out of all the turmoil this election has caused.”

Donna Jones Gentile, 55, of Long Beach, said things will — eventually — get back to normal.

“I don’t think they will get back to the same for a while, but it will hopefully all die down soon,” she said.

And Ebony Johnson Givens, a physical therapist from Gulfport, said most people will just be glad to see Nov. 8 come and go.

“I think the majority of us Americans will take a sigh of relief that this three-ring circus election is over,” she said. “There are people on the far left, and those on the far right, but the majority of us are right down the middle, and this has not been a pleasure for those of us who are,” she said.

Regina Zilbermints: 228-896-2340, @RZilbermints