Imagine a time when political polarization slows. When we don't have to read about radical liberal Democrats in all caps and hear snide comments about Republican or conservative wing-nuts.
That time may be coming. The possibility gets a little nearer every day, though it may not feel like it for another nine or 10 weeks while we wait for Joe Biden's inauguration as our 46th president on Jan. 20.
But regardless of the calendar date, we'll know we're on our way when Donald Trump tweets and nothing happens.
He'll just be another voice in the wilderness, and his outsized megaphone from the most powerful office in the free world will be gone.
Then, even the Republicans who have long feared his wrath or sought his embrace will just shrug.
They will, at that point, be empowered to realize — along with the rest of us — what MSNBC Daily writer and editor Hayes Brown termed last week as the jubilation of realizing "how much of our brain space we're going to be able to recover when the Trump administration finally concludes" and his outlandish tweeting ceases to matter.
We already have a sneak peak. Ask Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who won re-election this month despite Trump's scathing scolds.
Shortly after the 2020 presidential race was called in Biden's favor — Collins became one of just a handful of Republican elected officials by Monday to offer congratulations to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
We choose to believe there's a deeper meaning here. Collins' actions, and a similar one taken days before by Biden, has portent for American politics, post-Trump.
Biden surprised Collins when he called after her win and congratulated her, she told Maine Public Radio. Remember, at that time, Democrats were still hoping to regain control of the Senate, yet Biden called a Republican winner to offer his congratulations. Early the following week, she penned a statement offering the same to Biden.
Two things were at work, and they are related:
1) Collins and Biden served together in the Senate for years and worked together on several issues when he was vice president. They understood bipartisanship before it was outed.
2) Now these seasoned pubic servants seem to understand their role as adults in the room, and they are paving the way for a return to the kind of bipartisan "working together" on which Biden campaigned. The kind of bipartisan working together that Trump repeatedly sought to shatter and then exploit. The kind of bipartisan working together that Americans desperately need.
Collins' three-paragraph statement reads:
"First, I would offer my congratulations to President-elect Biden on his apparent victory — he loves this country, and I wish him every success. Presidential transitions are important, and the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect should be given every opportunity to ensure that they are ready to govern on January 20th.
"I understand that the President and others have questions about the results in certain states. There is a process in place to challenge those results and, consistent with that process, the President should be afforded the opportunity to do so.
"I know that many are eager to have certainty right now. While we have a clear direction, we should continue to respect that process. I urge people to be patient. The process has not failed our country in more than 200 years, and it is not going to fail our country this year."
Quite publicly, she cemented that Biden is president-elect and a worthy one, that he should be given by the Trump administration the transition access that is due him, that the president has a right to challenge results and let that process run its course, and that course is one she feels will put Joe Biden in the White House.
Another strange but welcome rainbow after our storm-tossed election season has been the outspokenness of Republican superlawyer Ben Ginsberg, who starred in George W. Bush's 2000 Florida recount battle and advised the Swift Boat group that Democrats say falsely smeared 2004 nominee John F. Kerry — a move widely believed to have influenced Bush's re-election.
But this year, with newspaper op-eds and TV interviews, Ginsberg is a Democratic ally.
"For the president of the United States, the leader of the free world and head of the Republican Party, to make completely unsubstantiated charges about our elections being rigged is not right," said Ginsberg, who recently retired from the law firm that has represented Trump's campaigns.
"My evolution started when the president doubled down in the lead-up to the 2020 election on his charges that our elections are rigged and fraudulent in a way that he hadn't previously," Ginsberg, 69, told The Washington Post. "It became a systemic attack made completely without evidence, aimed at undermining a basic pillar of our democracy. I know there's no evidence for systemic fraud because I had spent the better part of every election for four decades working in Republican poll-watcher programs and elections day operations."
Sure, it seems now like there are far too few Republicans straying back to path of bipartisan righteousness, especially given Mike Pompeo's grinning reply to reporters asking about the administration's order to block transition efforts by the Biden team: "There will be a smooth transition to second Trump administration," Pompeo said.
It wasn't funny.
But this will be: Watching the fingers fly to the Twitter page of @realDonaldTrump to click "unfollow."