Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chillax people. We're a democracy. It's a good thing.

I am so glad this day is here.  Can I get an Amen?

Election day is a very special day in the United States of America.  It's the day we get to use our voice.  No, not our inside voice, our outside voice or our mommy is really pissed off voice. It's our political voice.  It's the day we get to have a say in how our local, state and Federal government is run.  We have a chance to officially register our support or lack thereof on issues of importance.  To elect who will best represent us and our interests at all levels of government.  It's a right not all countries get.  That our ancestors fought hard for.

It's also one that has morphed and changed and we've lost some respect of the process along the way.  I'm sure I am not the only one who is beyond frustrated with the non-stop ads, mis-representations of the facts or outright lies, flip-flopping and negative campaigning.  Not to mention the sheer amount of time spent on harping on issues that have no impact on the REAL issues and that the people have clearly said they don't care about.  It's a waste of time and money and an insult to our intelligence.  It's childish and petty.  I certainly have issue with the way campaigns are run and financed, but there is nothing I can do about it.  At least not today.  I'd like to think it's over, at least for this election cycle, after tonight, but I'm afraid this election won't be over so easily.

Still, we're a democracy.  Although the popular vote does not truly elect our president (and I have issue with that but I also do not totally understand the whole process) the fact we, the people, have a role in choosing those who represent us at all levels is huge.  Sure we may have to wait in lines, prove who we are and yes, "our" candidate(s) may not win, but it's really less about who wins and more about the process.  Because WE win so long as we get to participate in it every four years.  THEY WORK FOR US!  It's up to us to make them work and to make the process work the way we want it to.

Social media has been a wonderful tool for candidates to get their message out there.  People love to forward and comment and if it's got a catchy picture, all the better.  I've pointed out how this can also cause rational adults to behave like toddlers having a tantrum because the other kid wouldn't share his toy.  Of course if the candidates can't play fair and act like adults, how can we expect those who support them to?

Today I witnessed an interesting phenomena.  After people voted, and posted they did so and encouraged their friends to do the same, the posts about anxiety over the outcome began.  I was shocked at the number of people who were either glued to the news stations or clicking their own electoral maps on their computers trying to figure out which combinations of states would get their guy the 'win'.  Others were afraid to turn on the TV or radio, paralyzed with anxiety over the possibility their candidate would lose.  Now that the polls are closed, the speculation is almost ridiculous.  I'm going to have a red-blue-red-blue induced seizure.

It's going to be a very close election.  This should surprise no one.  The country is deeply divided. The citizens of our country are in crisis.  They are fed up with many, many things.  There is deep disagreement in how we ended up where we are and how to get out of it.  No matter who wins, damn close to 50% of the people are going to be disappointed.  I get it.  Really, I do.  I'm one of you! I know what's important to me and who I want in the White House, but I'm not going to stress about it.  Why?

Because I've done everything I can do.  I voted.  I used my voice.  I, nor any one individual, can control the outcome of this election.  It is controlled by individuals, just like me and you, who used their voice, too.  We may have different voices, but we all did the same thing.  We voted for who we thought was best for us and our country.  If you didn't vote, shame on you.  If you didn't use your voice, your words now fall on deaf ears to me.

People disagree all the time.  Life is full of wins and losses.  We, as rational adults, should be able to agree to disagree and still remain friendly, functional humans. The candidates, if anyone, should be the ones who feel the most profound sense of loss, not us as individuals.  If we are unhappy with the outcome, the beauty of living in the USA is that we get to use our voice again if we so choose.  Not to bitch and moan and complain and blame.  It's over.  Move on, learning from your mistakes and make the best of what we can, just as we as Americans have always done. But use your voice for the greater good.  Do more next time.  Volunteer.  Advocate.  Vote again in 4 years! But don't have a stroke over something you cannot control. Life is too short.  There are more important things for you to focus on right now, like your own family and all those friends you said mean-spirited things to in the heat of an election/issue related discussion.

There will be an outcome.  We will have a President.  We may not know who that will be for hours or even days or more, but we will have one.  If your guy doesn't win, it's OK   Life will go on.  We've survived every election with a portion of our country being disappointed in the outcome.  We're still here.  We're still a democracy.  We will survive.  It's far more likely we will still function as these United States rather than as the Divided States come inauguration day.

If we don't, it'll be because the Mayans were right.  So, just in case, who is game for an everyone is the same because we are citizens of the US party on Dec 20th, just in case?  Who knows, we might have such a good time, it could catch on.  Assuming of course, the world doesn't end on the 21st of December.

In the meantime, I've had my chocolate and coconut and I'm off to bed with my anxiety wrought husband who is going to click his map and stay up all night because he's one of 'them'.  He says he's paid his life insurance, so if he gives himself a heart attack, I can give him a nice funeral.

I'll be happily sleeping.  I hope when I wake up, we know who our next President will be.  I hope even more, that regardless of who that is, we can get back to the business of being humans again.  Embracing our differences and working together for the greater good.  All we've got is each other, after all.

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