Tuesday we voted. We stood in line, made our choices for president, Senate, school board. We proudly wore our "I Voted" sticker as we went about the rest of our business for the day. Then we tuned in for the dramatic 2016 election finale.

Now we have work to do. As a country, as a democracy, we watched as what should have been a productive time of discussing tricky, multifaceted policy issues became a largely uncivil shouting match through which we learned little.

We listened and we knew that no matter who was elected president so much of the work ahead depends on us, not just our elected officials. Like it or not, we must do this work together.

Trump supporters and Clinton supporters don't live on opposite sides of town. Consider: The dentist who came in early for your emergency root canal. The coach of your son's little league team. The neighbors you hardly knew who volunteered their afternoon to help you clean up after Hurricane Matthew. Perhaps all Trump supporters. Or the volunteer who spent her Saturday picking up trash in your neighborhood. The farmer who provided fresh local produce for your family. The veterinarian who lovingly attended your aging dog. Maybe all Clinton supporters.

We all want (mostly) the same things. We all want safe schools that help us mold our children into well-rounded, capable citizens. We all want police, fire departments, and military personnel that are well funded and well trained for the myriad hard tasks we ask of them. We all want communities that offer good jobs, enjoyable recreational opportunities, and affordable medical care and housing. These things don't happen magically regardless of the candidate elected at any level. We are the incumbents in this election. We are the citizens who have the most skin in the game and who have to lead the efforts on the ground. Without our informed involvement, our communities suffer. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

The League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area is not wasting a minute. The board met Wednesday to begin determining ways to help our community move forward productively.

We will rise together or we will fall together. So now we must work together.

Melinda Hamilton


League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area

Parrot Creek Way


  This letter also was signed by the board of directors, League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area.