Election Day in the US was two days ago. That day we chose our fate. Some are elated, and some are grief stricken. We are a divided nation and the Us versus Them rhetoric has never been stronger. Now it is time to pick up the pieces of our lives that we put on hold as we waited with bated breath to learn the outcome of this election season. I am so glad the campaigning and mud-slinging and agonizing waiting is over.
One of the features of campaign season is political surveys. I made the mistake once of agreeing to answer one and then the calls never stopped. I finally tired of them so much that I stopped answering the phone if I did not recognize the caller ID. Even worse, for the ones that chain called (leaving only a few seconds between calls), I would pick up and immediately hang up without answering.
The other annoying type of call was from the candidates’ parties. They would ask if I would like to attend some event or other for their candidate. No. I want to stay home and be left alone. Do I plan on voting in this election? Yes, you betcha, but leave me alone until then. Do I need a ride to the polls? No, thank you. I can walk.
Finally now, I can feel safe answering my phone again.
Ah, the junk mail. I am registered as an independent voter. Actually, here in NH they call us undecided, but I am very decided that I am of neither of the two major parties. Two years ago, there wasn’t much going on in the democratic primary, so I voted in the Republican primary. Honestly, I just wanted to help make a mess of their primary. I know, so mature of me. This whole election cycle I have received so much propaganda from both sides that it is ludicrous. Getting reams of paper from the kids’ schools is bad enough, I don’t need reams more from politics. My paper recycling bin was the fastest filling bin I have. Now perhaps I can give my poor recycling bin a break.
These last few days have been horrible on Facebook. Every fourth post in my feed was political in nature, either one of my friends posting their thoughts on it, or a sponsored ad. I wearied of the rhetoric. I tired of people trying to coerce others into voting their way. And yes, there has been a lot of coercion. I’m tired of hearing that third party voters are the bane of the election process. “If you vote third party and the candidate I hate wins, I am holding you personally responsible.” I’m tired of hearing that the other side is evil incarnate. That their side is backing the new Messiah. Ok, maybe not the new Messiah. Most people did acknowledge that their preferred candidate is flawed.
The problem as I see it is that neither side fielded people who were willing to reach out and try to understand the other side. Although I’m sure there will be lots of talk on Facebook now about how to go forward and what went “wrong” with the election, at least we can stop vilifying others now that the decision is made.
My children have been more on edge these last few weeks, as the pressure ramped up and tensions were high. A’s kindergarten teacher remarked that all the kids in her class were having a difficult time focusing. My daughter acted out by rolling around on the floor instead of participating in her beloved crafty activities. I understand she was not alone in her behavior. The mother of the little boy I babysit is a teacher, and she observed similar occurrences in her classroom. The children have been acting out uncharacteristically. I suspect that this is all a result of the children feeling the palpable tension in the air as we adults wrestle with how we deal with the election. Perhaps now they (and we) can calm down and reclaim their fun-loving, wonderful selves.
I am so glad the campaigning is over and we can move forward with our lives.