By Jane Stillwater

The day before our national elections, I got a tooth pulled. It was a lower right molar, which had been festering for a long time and clearly needed to come out—and this is a great analogy for America’s current political situation as well. Everyone wants those festering war-mongering neo-con capitalist bastards in Washington, gone too.

But the big difference in this analogy is that my dentist knew which tooth was rotten and which tooth to pull, and then she went about extracting it effortlessly and (almost) painlessly. But on election day in America, we got a whole bunch of teeth pulled—and they weren’t even the ones that hurt.

But then things got even worse—for both America and for me. Being vulnerable after the extraction, I then got sick with the flu. Lots of tossing and turning and coughing and eating oranges and drinking herb tea. Nothing seemed to help. And that also seems to be the state that America is in right now too—nothing helps. Certainly the election didn’t. I’m thinking that America is sort of the same as me right now, sick along with me. Literally.

So. What is going to cure us? Certainly not Clinton or Trump. The only thing that is going to cure America right now is the same thing that is going to cure me—healthy food, lots of bed-rest, courage and being taken care of by kind friends. And, of course, time to heal.

But unfortunately, time in America is rapidly running out.

We Americans also urgently need to start to eat right, get plenty of rest, put up a brave front and, most important, start being kind. Kind to ourselves, kind to our friends, kind to our constituents, kind to our children, kind to other nations and kind to our planet. And Americans need to start this regimen right now if we are ever going to heal.

PS: Where to start? Start by being kind to the person next to you—and the person after that. Be kind to the homeless. Be kind to children. Be kind to people who do not look like you. Be kind to that annoying person down the street. Be kind to yourself. Individual Americans are kind. Never forget about that.

“But what about bullies and ISIS and oligarchs and thieves and crazy people and mean girls and rapists and weapons manufacturers and banksters,” you might ask. Don’t become one of them. Be kind. No matter what the cost. Stand for something.

Jane Stillwater is a freelance journalist, war correspondent, blogger, political Cassandra and author of “Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today’s Middle East.”

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