By the time Acantha readers see this editorial, the Nov. 3 general election will be done. The final votes may not yet be tallied, as most states don’t certify their election results until a set number of days after the election, but the election itself will be over. There will be winners and losers. On a national level, there may be post-election litigation.

This is a plea to all our readers to respond to the results of this election with grace, compassion and hope. No matter who wins, the solid foundation of the U.S. Constitution still stands. The Bill of Rights is not going away. Our form of government gives us the right to work with elected officials from school boards to Congress to effect change through legislation and grassroots action. If we are not satisfied with the officials who have been elected or reelected, we can find ways to work for our ideals through the existing structure of our representative government.

What is most important today is for all Americans — the Democrats and the Republicans, the Libertarians, the Greens, the Independents — to take a deep breath and focus on the things we all share, the bedrock values that unite us. And we can take action to dial back the rhetoric and exaggeration that has been so common in campaign speeches and advertisements.

All Republicans are not evil fascists or plutocrats. All Democrats are not radical socialists or communists. Sweeping statements of generalization like all Californians are idiots or all beard-wearing Southerners are racists are not accurate and not helpful. We can all take responsibility for our words and make sure what we say and what we post is specific and narrow and accurate. We can spend our time on social media posting our suggestions for solutions to today’s challenges rather than offering our constant, negative critiques.

We can be inspired by Choteau brothers Nik and Kalen Lightner, who organized a “patriots parade” last week. They welcomed everyone to come and celebrate what unites rural America rather than what divides it. The parade ended up being lopsided politically, but what the brothers said they most wanted was a display of unity, a celebration of unsung heroes and an expression of hope for this community and this country. We can all get behind that.