At this point in the presidential election cycle, candidates and media pundits always tell us that “this election is the most important of your life.” This time it may be true.

Any election that takes place during a global pandemic that has killed more than 120,000 Americans since January and during social unrest in America’s larger cities will draw added attention. When coupled with the severe economic damage sustained by the economy, globally and domestically, the November election looms large.

The increasing polarization of the two dominant political parties is another factor increasing the stakes in this election. While this is not a new factor, it certainly feels that the current distance in policy between Democrats and Republicans is large and has not only divided the country politically, but also culturally. One may ask, have the politicians divided the country or do they simply reflect the attitudes of the American population?

While there is some truth to each position, we believe the appalling lack of leadership and comity from the political class damages our country and adds to the discomfort many of us feel heading into November. Individual candidates are never perfect but this year each has flaws that would cause any person to question whether either could unite the entire country to a bigger, more welcoming vision of what our country should be.

Facing this nonoptimal decision, we think we should all listen to what the parties stand for and discuss the consequences, good and bad, of the policies each party promotes. This may be particularly difficult this year as the physical conduct of the campaigns is affected by the pandemic. Will the candidates travel the country as they have in years past? Will there be conventions later this summer? Will people go to the polls to vote on Nov. 3?

We have 137 days until Nov. 3 and much work to do as a country to listen and discuss the decision that will set the path for the next two years. The campaign for the congressional elections in 2022 will start Nov. 4 and our country will vote to continue the path set in 2020 or elect an opposition House and Senate. Democracy at its finest!