5 Lessons Learned In The Last 36 Hours Of The Election Season
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 8, 2012
Yes I do normally write my posts way in advance, but sometimes I have something to say that’s more timely; this is one of those times. And I have a dichotomy of emotions as I’m writing this. Yes, this is going to be a controversial post so if you don’t want to deal with it, I’d stop now and go read one of my happier posts. lol
Suffice it to say, Barack Obama has won reelection and will be the president for the next 4 years. Yes, I’m happy about that, moreso because I’m happy the other party lost rather than his winning. I think there was a lot at stake and that overwhelmingly people ended up voting for the other candidate for the wrong reason. As a matter of fact, the polls showed that they voted for him for the very reason I wrote this post and accusations against me and my “ilk”, if you will.
In any case, like most things in life, there are lessons to learn that might not be the types of lessons others might see; or maybe they will see them. Let’s find out as I explore these 5 lessons learned in the last 36 hours of the election season:
1. People’s real feelings come out strongly as the death knell is approaching. Some of the things I was reading and seeing about President Obama in the last 24 hours before the results were due to start coming in riled me up so much that I lost my mind. So I got into it on Facebook and, for the most part, people left me alone. There comes a point where things aren’t political anymore, they’re personal, and I was tired of the Muslim, patriot, traitor, “we’re gonna impeach him” and all the other mess that people just kept saying. If you think the link I left above was off the mark, trust me it wasn’t.
2. It seems people can’t filter out truth from hyperbole when it comes to TV political ads. Learn this from me if you need to. When those ads come out saying that so-and-so voted this much of a percentage with other members of their party like it’s the worst thing in the world… folks, they’re supposed to! Most people tend to vote along with their party; that’s just how life is. Now, at the same time every once in awhile someone votes their conscience and goes against their party… well, they used to before the Tea Party folks got there (notice almost no one identified themselves as Tea Party folks this time around?). What’s more interesting is when the number isn’t 100%. That happened locally when one of our representatives backers kept saying the guy who lost in the last election voted with his party 94% of the time, while leaving out that she voted with her party 100% of the time.
Here’s the reality. Unless someone says something really stupid (Akin) or does something really stupid, almost all politicians are decent people. Ads are misleading and vicious; that’s why most of us turn them off. However, in the last hours leading up to the election not only were they more vicious but they just kept coming and coming and coming. And let’s not even talk about the robo-calls; oy!
3. Social media can be both a curse and a blessing. It certainly was for the candidates, but it was for us as well. Every website I went to, and every app I opened on my smartphone gave me an ad for someone who was running for office. On Facebook it started getting really heavy, even after I added the FB Purity add-on to Firefox (you don’t know about this one? Check out this post from our buddy Adrienne Smith; it’s a lifesaver even now, after the elections, for blocking stuff you don’t want to see in your stream). Even on Twitter, where I pretty much only connect with people of “like” values and such, assaulted me with all kinds of stuff. Remember the days when we only had newspapers and the TV news we had to avoid?
And yet, through social media a lot of people learned what was going on, and some people knew what was going to happen early on; not quite sure how they did that. I know I shared the news about the Karl Rove meltdown (it was classic; who knew live TV could be that entertaining?) everywhere. Faux News; never watched it before, was entertaining last night, will never watch it again.
4. Competition never ends; never. As soon as it was announced that President Obama had been reelected, the politicking began. There was already a discussion on who would run for president four years from now. Both sides were saying they didn’t think anything would happen and each side said it was the other that had to bend; yeah, that’s going to happen. Some people were already trying to figure out how to shake things up. One guy was saying that maybe the Electoral College would change the outcome of the election for Romney (seems that happened once in history; that’s how John Quincy Adams won the presidency without winning the election). It’s like sports now, where immediately after a team wins a championship they immediately wonder if the team can win it again and if not who they believe will be the strongest team the next season. And sometimes it’s all for naught (isn’t it Senator McConnell?).
5. When all is said and done, things usually end with a whimper, grace and class. What makes this country great is ultimately how people accept their own defeat. Former Governor Romney was class last night, as has every person who’s ever run for president and then had to make a concession speech has done (can’t blame Gore since he didn’t learn he wouldn’t be president for about a month or so). This is something about politicians that confuses me and probably everyone else. We get riled up for or against someone, are ready to get into fistfights over all of it, and then these people can walk up to a podium after having lost and say “So-and-so ran a great campaign and I hope they do well” or some such nonsense like that. 🙂
You know what though? That’s kind of a lesson most of us need to learn, but probably won’t. A lot of rhetoric is just that; noise. Often people say things to get us irritated; that’s what trolls do. For me, I stayed out of it for 729 days, only to let myself totally go off the deep end in the last 24 hours. Even as I write this I haven’t gotten it totally out of my system (but I will soon; I promise). But the politicians who participated in the process have moved on and gotten over it, seeing it as business as usual. It’s a strange business but that’s what it ultimately is.
Lessons; I’ve learned a few. Let’s see what I can retain and what I can forget; what about you?