Baseball season, football season, even basketball season is preferable to election season, especially since the turn of the century. Campaigning, debating, polling, and constant phone calling makes the election season unbearable. It’s been nice watching TV the last few days without hearing the words “I approve this message”. But even as the results have just been finalized, I received an email requesting a political contribution in an effort to start building a war chest for the 2014 election! Give me a break!
From a letter to the editor in today’s Ocala Star Banner:
Record examined. Votes cast. Ignorant and uninformed ruled. Incompetence continued. Spending uncurtailed. Debt assured. Young people burdened. U.S. future dimmed. Greece mimicked. Depression abounds. GASP!
Remember, the world will not end if your candidate lost the election nor will all of our nation’s problems magically end if your candidate won. Don’t cry, don’t post angry comments on Facebook, don’t write hateful letters to be published in the newspaper, and don’t threaten to move out of the country regardless of how disappointing you find the election results. On the other hand, don’t gloat if you find yourself in the winner’s camp. I assure you things won’t be as great as promised. In fact, you’ll probably be disappointed.
Although election season can be frustrating or disappointing, often bringing out the worst in us, elections are also the best thing about living in the United States. Even though we, as Americans, disagree on politics, even though at least 49% of voters are disappointed with the results, even though people are predicting doomsday scenarios and posting inflammatory comments on social media, when you woke up last Wednesday, the day after the election, it was business as usual. Students attended class in school. Businesses opened. People bought groceries, filled their cars with gas, celebrated birthdays, and continued working.
Protesters did not surround governmental buildings. Riots did not ensue. Soldiers did not patrol neighborhoods. Banks did not experience a run on money. Sure, the stock market experienced greater dips than in the preceding weeks, but there have been many similar fluctuations in recent years. Elections are orderly. Voters accept the results. Life continues. This is not the case in much of the world, but in the U.S. elections signify times of orderly change in our government and this is why election season is worthwhile.
It seems every election is billed the most important decision of our lifetime. How can that be? Victoria Coates says it all in this quote:
Every election cycle someone–often many someones–solemnly informs us that this is the most important election of our lifetime. And so it is, although not for the transitory reasons any one candidate might suggest.
In fact each election is the most important because it means that contrary to basic human instinct, some might even say contrary to logic and reason, we are still having an election. We are participating in the process. Our grand experiment has not failed us and we have not failed it.
I guess that means that this was the most important election of our lifetime…at least until the next time.
Finally, in two weeks we celebrate Thanksgiving with a large family gathering. That means a wide range of political views. My suggestion: avoid political discussions. No talk of election results. No talk of tax philosophy. No talk of abortion, or rape, or same sex marriage. Focus on what you’re thankful for and let your own family be a reminder that regardless of the gulf that divides us politically, we all love our country and want positive changes. We just see those changes through different eyes so hold your tongue, change the subject, eat another piece of pie.
And remember, like your family, Americans throughout the country, of both political parties yearn for a country with good jobs, a strong economy, rising home values, cheap gas, and peace. If only we could exercise civil discourse in our efforts to express our opinions (and listen to those of others).
Elections results really aren’t the end of the world – at least not in the U.S.