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Time for a kindness break

By Alexandra Zayas, Times Enterprise Editor
First lady Michelle Obama hugs former president George W. Bush as they and their spouses President Barack Obama and former first lady Laura Bush arrive at the opening ceremony for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, a rare bipartisan moment in 2016. (Al Drago/The New York Times)

Join hands with me, will you, for a pre-Thanksgiving prayer:

Please, just let Tuesday come and go. Let this presidential election be over.

Let its results be conclusive and undisputed.

Let them not prompt half the country to flee to Canada.

Let them not trigger bloodshed, assassination or Revolutionary War — actual threats uttered at actual rallies this past month.

Because I don't think we can take any more of this.

Last summer, the Pew Research Center published findings collected in the spring, that voters' views of the opposing party have reached unprecedented lows in modern political history.

That was before a Republican headquarters in North Carolina was firebombed. Before the nightly newscast included a warning to clear the room of children, just to discuss a presidential debate.

"For the first time in surveys dating to 1992," the report concluded, "majorities in both parties express not just unfavorable but very unfavorable views of the other party. And today, sizable shares of both Democrats and Republicans say the other party stirs feelings of not just frustration, but fear and anger."

On both sides, the number of people is growing who believe the opposite party is a "threat to the nation's well-being."

You'll read all about the sad state of American politics throughout this website.

But let this collection of stories be your bright spot.

Here's a preview of the pieces we've lined up for this Sunday's Floridian magazine, story after story about strangers coming together for a greater good.

Remember when we almost resorted to nuclear blows with Cuba? Now we're saving the ocean together.

Strangers joined to help a Purple Heart find the family of a fallen soldier.

They showered a young viola player with generosity and support after reading in September's Floridianabout the bullies who tormented him, the concussion he sustained and his drive to overcome it all.

When a man found a mysterious box on the shore of Fort De Soto's North Beach filled with a stranger's ashes, he went to great lengths — literally, to the other side of the earth — to help put that life to rest.

Hopefully, these stories will project the kind of America we'll revisit as we reunite later this month at the Thanksgiving table. One where even the estranged can find common ground.

Contact Alexandra Zayas at [email protected] or (727) 893-8413. Follow @AlexandraZayas.