Since Tuesday's election, it appears people are losing their minds. Anti-Trump protesters are rioting in the streets in a way never seen before following a presidential election; there are reports of white children and teenagers tormenting minorities with racial slurs in schools in a way this country hasn't seen in several decades. Colleges are offering therapists and even therapy dogs to students who are having too hard a time coping with the outcome of the election.
Do you know who is to blame? The presidential candidates themselves and their campaigns.
They have spent the past year engaging in the most negative, mean-spirited and borderline scary campaign tactics - getting everybody all riled up. They have done everything in their power to demonize the other so that Americans didn't just want to vote for them, but so that they downright hated the other candidate and their supporters.
To the politicians it is always a big, strategic game in which they solicit unsuspecting voters to use as pawns to fight for them. Like soldiers in war, Americans end up fighting viciously for their candidate because they are constantly being told of how "evil" the other one is, while their candidate sits up somewhere watching it all happen.
It becomes apparent of what a "game" this really is the day after the election when both parties seem to be able to switch their tones with ease, going from bloodbath to compliments and for the first time in a year, telling Americans that we all need to work together. That sounds exactly opposite of the rhetoric they had been feeding voters up until that point, suggesting that the others are going to destroy America.
After eliciting the fight and rattling everybody's cages, they then turn around and say, "We need to work together." How meaningless are those words after a million other words of hate? By this time, it's too late and everybody has already chosen sides, dug in their heels, believed very deeply in what they're told to fight for, and unleashed the very hate and nasty rhetoric that the "leaders" of this country asked for.
And then when everybody is to the point of acting like rabid dogs, they are THEN told to sing Kumbaya? Give us a break. Normal Americans who care about policy and about who leads our country cannot just shut it off the way these politicians clearly can because it isn't just a game to American citizens - it's our lives.
The truly sad part of this is that grown adults who have become so emotionally charged during this political season have been unable to shield their own children from the grown up world of politics, and many couldn't help themselves from letting that anger seep right into America's youth.
For several months, children have been listening to their parents' own unfiltered hate, so of course they're going to go to school and mimic it in the way a child would. Adults may have the sense to not show up to work Wednesday morning with black-painted faces holding Trump signs that spew racial terrorism, but impressionable children do not truly understand what they're doing - they only know what they've heard from mom or dad.
College students are seeking therapy because they're hearing from adults that supposedly know what they're talking about that they need to be scared ... that their America is going to fall apart, along with everything they believe in.They're told this, so they're scared.
It's great that Clinton is taking nice, long walks in the woods and that Trump and Obama are busy making nice at the White House, but what they should be doing is apologizing for the havoc they have purposefully created among the very people they want to lead.
They will likely not do that, however, so upon this anticipated failure of us, we must be the ones who start the healing. Sadly enough, instead of turning to our leaders for answers, we need to be bigger and better than them.
We need to let it sink in that we are not on sides and cannot be divided by a political structure that not a one of us actually created. We're Americans - all of us - let's not be duped into becoming our worst selves because otherwise, we are the only real losers in this game.