I drove to the state Capitol to cover a “count the votes” rally on Saturday and a cartoon broke out after national media outlets declared what we all knew on Thursday, that the election was over.

This was history unfolding in real time, as a sort of caricature of itself. After the official rally, pro-Trump conservatives lined up on the Capitol lawn and social justice liberals, mostly pro-Biden, across Capitol Avenue at the state Supreme Court.

There were, to paraphrase our vanquished leader, very fine extremists on both sides. On both sides.

This is the divide we need to bridge. It will not happen easily. And it will not happen just with the soothing talk of a moderate old political horse, oldest ever to sit in the Oval Office; though President-Elect Joe Biden’s calm presence will definitely help.

The liberals lined up at the ready as the Trump forces took to their pickup trucks for a car rally. One of them, shouting taunts I can’t repeat, wrapped in a rainbow shawl, holding a Black Lives Matter banner, absolutely lost it when a Trump-festooned pickup drove by in the parade.

When I say she lost it, I mean she was so over-the-top that fellow liberal protester-celebrators had to calm her down. One of them told her, “Don’t be reactive. We’re celebrating.”

Here’s the kicker: The overheated young woman, Dani Shapiro of East Hartford — not the best-selling author from Connecticut of the same name — told me why she came out to Hartford on the loveliest Saturday November has ever seen.

“They’re just not accepting defeat and they need to, and I just want to see civility brought back.”

Civility apparently takes many forms. Across the divide, The Trump ralliers sang God Bless America and the Star Spangled Banner as if their values are more patriotic than those of the justice activists. About 100 of them gathered in a knot for spontaneous speeches.

“Besides praying for Trump, also, go to QAnon.hub and just look at all the current updates,” said the 55-ish man, who, needless to say, declined to give me his name when he saw my media badge.

I’m painting a picture of the extremes here, not to say these are typical liberals and conservatives. I’ve talked with a lot of voters this season and most, on both sides, just want a normal existence. Trouble is, they want their normal and we’re far apart on what that means — and both sides point to these extremes to prove their points.

Someone else spoke of 10 days of darkness that started on Nov. 4 and end on Nov. 14. (I think that’s 11 days but who’s counting?). A man implored, “Your faith, your guns and whatever you hold, they will take it away!”

And a woman reminded the Trump defenders that freedom comes in three places: “The jury box, the ballot box, the cartridge box.”

One of the Trump people pointed across the divide to a young woman holding a bright, yellow sign that said, “F— THE COPS!” (without the missing letters). That’s who they are, he said. Take note of it.

I did, and the woman — Tenaya Taylor, director of the Nonprofit Accountability Group in Hartford, which aims to fight racism in the nonprofit sector — was unapologetic.

“The police are a white supremacist institution that keeps Black people in Hartford oppressed,” Taylor said to me, including members of her own family. “I believe in a police-free and prison-free world.”

That extends to Trump. When her fellow activists chant to “lock him up,” mocking Trump’s taunt of 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, she objects.

Taylor favored Sen. Bernie Sanders for president and said she didn’t vote for Biden. “Its not a win for us,” she said. “It’s bittersweet. People can’t get lazy.”

That question — what will Democrats do now that they have the White House? — will create vast arguments. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who was at the rally but not the Capitol Avenue standoff, says we need to move full-speed ahead, pushing for policies such as the Green New Deal climate control plan and broadened health care.

“These ideas are not left or right, they are common to all Americans.”

As is racial justice. Question is, can we address it all right now and still heal the nation? I’m skeptical.

I asked Taylor what she thought of the fact that Trump and his supporters used the Defund the Police movement to win voters, and that it might have cost Biden the election if Trump had been even a remotely decent human being.

The other side sees the whole left as one thing, she said. Then she pointed across Capitol Avenue and added that she’s “pretty sure” the Trump people are not all the same as one another. But she said, “They’re all the same to us.”

Taylor doesn’t mind all this edginess on both sides and as an annoying guy my self, I feel that, too. As they shouted over a line of cops who kept the peace admirably, I couldn’t help thinking many of these people could be friends. Everyone came to let off pent-up steam from the election, pent-up steam from COVID, pent-up steam from racial tension and so much else.

Back on the Trump side, a woman took the bullhorn to call the liberals elitists. “We’re not like them because we’re too busy going to work every day,” she shouted. “Right?”

Yes, we are all busy, on both sides, but we have more to do on this divide thing. Right?

Connecticut Media Group