It was presidential politics, but most times, it seemed like a heavyweight boxing match where each fighter took off the gloves and threw bare-knuckle punches.
The voters who watched from ringside seemed to weary of the fight which stayed in their faces with the 24-hour news cycle of the cable TV news operations. Throughout the morning, noon, and night, it was political commentators, surrogates of the candidates, and nominees themselves giving the blow-by-blow accounts. It was a battle of Clinton versus Trump in a battle of unrelenting charges and counter-charges.
There were times the campaign seemed like a soap opera or a reality TV show.
There were calls of Trump to "lock her up" for Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server while doing official Secretary of State business. Clinton countered with charges that Donald Trump made sexual advances to many women. There were dozens of other subjects thrown about. In between the rounds, there was Clinton under a grilling by Republican members of Congress over the e-mail scandal.
Then came the Access Hollywood bus scandal video with Trump speaking of the sexual moves he used on women. Then came women who charged how he had "groped" them. At the same time, the sexual scandal of the 1990s involving President Bill Clinton during his time in the White House resurfaced.
With election day, voters who had wearied of the campaign which ran for a year-and-a-half breathed a sigh of relief to see it come to an end. Finally, the voters would judge the battle and determine a winner. In the match, there were verbal shots from Trump and Clinton, but also from their surrogates who seemed like an endless parade on the news shows.
In the televised debates, by the tens of millions, voters tuned in. That was a good sign of democracy. The voters cared about the direction of the country. Voter involvement is always a light in the darkness of a campaign. Even one where each candidate labels the other as "untrustworthy" or "unfit" for the presidency. It has been a long campaign.
Now there will be a winner. Whoever it is must govern with a large portion of the nation believing the winner is a "liar" who cannot be trusted. This is when the real work of American politics begins. The winner will have to find words of healing that can bring the nation together. There are millions of people who feel the government has let them down and has shown itself to be ineffective.
Depending on who you ask, the blame is likely to be directed to someone at the end of the person's pointed finger. In Washington, fingers often point across the aisle to the other party. It like fencers crossing swords.
The voters have voiced an anger over the government. At the same time, many voters have voiced their distrust of the news media in general. All of that came out in the campaign.
Certainly, the new president will have to address much. That process of trying to find common ground must begin moments after a new president is elected. The president-elect cannot wait until January when the office begins. And the leaders of the political opposition also play a key role if the nation is to find a pathway to healing. The bell has sounded to end the long boxing match.
The time to heal the bruises is already here.