It’s no surprise to see my friends’ reactions on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Obama supporters are elated; Romney supporters are bitter.
One person lamented that “things will never be OK again!”
I feel for those who wanted a different outcome. This election season was particularly heated among friends and family. I saw a lot of relationships tested and damaged. Some were accused of hate speech, bigotry and conspiracy-spinning. That certainly happened in spots. It always does in an election cycle.
But most people simply have beliefs that permeate their souls. They want the best for those around them and personal experience has molded their beliefs on how to get there. They may be right or wrong, but their hearts are in the right place.
There is nothing cynical about that.
Some suggestions for those hurting from the Election 2012 hangover:
- Don’t waste your time spinning conspiracy theories about the election being stolen from your candidate or the winner having some hidden evil scheme to destroy America. Even in the post 9/11 world, a president’s power to do the things that scare you are limited. We have divided government, something the Founding Fathers built into the system to prevent the consolidation of power in one place. Spinning conspiracy theories won’t do you any good, anyway. It’ll just make you sick.
- If your candidate won, don’t be an asshole about it. Romney isn’t evil and never was. He just has a different set of beliefs than you do. The shittiest part of this election has been the name-calling. The notion that your friends are subhuman and stupid because they voted differently from you is sad and selfish. When you see the Romney supporters in your life this morning, give them a pat on the back and buy them a cup of coffee. Don’t rub salt in their wound.
- If your candidate lost, calling the other side idiots, shitheads and the other names I’ve seen this morning will not make you feel better. You’ll feel worse and look petty and spiteful.
- Remember that any meaningful, good change in your life starts with you, not the people that get elected. One of my Facebook friends, David Black, put it best when he said, “Whoever is elected president has little to do with how I live my daily life. We have our families, our friends, and our health. What more do we really need? Be of good cheer; this too will pass.” Amen, brother.
- As an extension of that last point, do the things that will help your community more than any national or state election result ever could: Volunteer to mentor students. Help your friends and families earn a living by helping out with some household task or watching their kids when school is canceled. Drive your elderly neighbor around so they can do their errands and get to doctors’ appointments. Those things that are personal and seem so insignificant in the big picture make the difference for people. Of course, most of you already know that and already do these things. Thanks for all you do.
When I was a young, idealistic punk, I didn’t get a lot of these things. Indeed, I still have plenty of room for improvement. But I’m hopefully a bit wiser.
Blessings to you all.