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There is a popular internet meme — an image with text — making the rounds on social media that essentially says long after this election is over, the people of this country will be the ones shaping their communities — not the people running for president.

Its message encourages us all to remember that while we are debating — sometimes feverishly but preferably respectfully — elections bring out strong emotions and beliefs that can put us at odds. But at the end of the day, we live beside one another, as neighbors.

We attend benefits and community events, sporting contests and school plays. And while it seems like a cliché, we truly are much more alike than we are different.

At the end of the day, we all want the same things: health, happiness, family time, goals to strive for and the like. We meet in the grocery stores and in our local parks. When we do so, it doesn’t matter that we are affiliated with one political party or another. It matters that we are kind and neighborly.

We look out for one another.

We receive a good number of letters to the editor debating politics around this time of year. But all year long, we get the obligatory “thank you” letters, which are so frequent as to be difficult to fit into print.

There are thank-you notes to organizations and groups who have given of their time and talents to organize fundraisers for their neighbors. There are thank-you letters from residents who live on the same street: Thank you for digging out my car in the storm, or thanks for taking care of me when I fell or my car broke down.

We get thank-you letters written to an anonymous Good Samaritan who paid for a meal in the drive-through or at a restaurant.

These thank-you notes far outnumber the ones containing political sniping and griping.

The politicians and policymakers have their place in a vibrant democracy, such as ours. But it’s we, the people, who constitute the neighborhoods where life plays itself out.

Pennsylvania’s voter registration deadline has come and gone. Those registered should go to the polls and vote their consciences. We don’t have to fight over who we are voting for. We can vote a party line or make a protest.

At the end of the day, the political machine will continue to hum in its sometimes dysfunctional but thankfully democratic way. And long after the rallies are over and government goes back to its work, we will be here, neighbors sharing our lives and helping one another out.

Let’s keep our eye on what’s really important. In this country, we are fortunate to choose our leader. We need not tear one another down to do so.

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