I know you’re a little bummed. So let’s start things out by looking at two sloths eating a single green bean.
Cute, right? Feel a little better? Good. I know last night was rough for you. And I just wanted to take a minute and offer some words of advice and comfort from someone who has been there before. And trust me, I’ve been there.
I have nodded in agreement at the “Anyone but this guy” bumper stickers. I have had conversations leading up to the elections that assured me that no one thought the current president was even remotely qualified for his job. And I have watched in utter shock as states that only get talked about once every four years turned red, one by one, on John King’s map. And finally, I watched a wealthy man from Massachusetts, whose positions no one could quite pin down, concede to someone that I thought was ruining the country.
But you know what? He didn’t ruin the country. Sure, we can debate the merits of certain wars and the amount of destruction caused by certain recessions, but my new obsession with The Walking Dead has put a lot in perspective about what it means for the country to be RUINED. The fact that we’re still debating the issues and voting in presidential elections instead of eating people’s faces means, to me, that the country is largely in tact.
But you don’t want to hear any of this now. It’s easier to see the big picture when you just won. In the mean time, though, I’d like to offer some advice to both sides on how to deal with the immediate aftermath.
REPUBLICANS: Don’t threaten to move.
You’re not going to do it. Democrats threatened to move to Canada in flocks after Bush got re-elected, but I don’t know a single person who actually left the country. Moving is a pain in the ass. You never have enough boxes, and you always end up packing something like the pizza cutter or the bottle opener that makes the rest of the process miserable. Besides, where are you guys going to go? Most first-world countries are actually more liberal than the U.S., so if you’re worried about Obamacare, you’re REALLY going to hate universal healthcare. I’ve heard Australia bantered about as a conservative refuge, but I don’t think you guys are taking into account how hard it is to get a visa there. Conservative countries are tough to immigrate to because…well, I don’t need to tell you.
DEMOCRATS: Don’t call it a “mandate.”
The worst thing that came out of the 2004 election (aside from John Edwards) was Bush’s use of the word “mandate.” Now that he had earned the majority of the popular vote, for the first time, that was a clear indication that America had its full trust in him and were 100% on board with everything he was doing. Which was really annoying to the 48% of Americans who were not on board with anything he was doing. It was stupid then, and it’s stupid now. Yes, Obama won. But he didn’t win by a lot. And the word “mandate” just gives me a case of the cringies either way.
EVERYONE: Resist the urge to go wide.
Facebook, for better or worse, lets us broadcast our opinions. And sometimes, and I include myself in this, our opinions are insane. So try to stay focused on the issue at hand here. People didn’t vote for the other person because they HATE America or they want the country to fall apart. They just have different perspectives and priorities. And resist the urge to assign more meaning to this than it has. Presidential elections carry a great deal of weight on their own, so there’s no need to make it even more dramatic as a SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE or the END OF RACISM. It was just an election. We’ll have another in four years. I promise you.
EVERYONE: Remember, we’re not so different after all.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this issues that we get so upset over are not that divisive. Yes, I want gay marriage to be legal and you may think it should be called something different, but there’s a compromise to be found in there somewhere. Did you know that the “Sweden Democrat” party is basically Nazis? Can you imagine trying to debate your friend on the issues when they VOTED FOR THE NAZI GUY? It would be impossible. And here we are, calling people morons and Godless because they don’t agree with us on tax cuts for people who make more than one million dollars a year. I mean, the two presidential candidates basically introduced the same health care plans. The gap is not uncrossable.
My whole point is, I was there. And I’ll be there again. Probably in four years when you guys get a new, exciting candidate who energizes your party and inspires
hip hop country stars to write hit songs. And then you can make me feel better by telling me how bitter you were after last night, and how you were sure the country was going to crumble, and how even though things didn’t go as you wanted, it still turned out O.K. And the circle of life continues.