Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Afterthoughts

*Note: This was also posted on my private journal; however, I wanted to be able to share it with someone who did not have access to that journal so I also posted it here.

A few weeks ago, I thought to myself that it was kind of cool to be on a college campus for this particular election. From the hard-fought Clinton/ Obama race to the McCain/ Obama one, this was an interesting year, and one that really drew in a lot of youth support.

Not too long after that, I started to get really sick of politics. I couldn't walk from one class to another without being urged to register to vote for awhile, and after that was through, I couldn't do so without being urged to vote early. There were chalk messages for and against each candidate, messages changed to flame a candidate, and apparently a tree in the middle of campus painted with an Obama slur a day or two ago. There were people standing outside offering suckers with a "vote Obama" tag on election day, there were celebrities coming to campus to talk about Obama, the ads and speculation flooded the TV, and there were Facebook statuses galore donated to the cause.

Quickly, instead of it being cool that I was smack in the middle of a lot of politically passionate people, it was downright annoying. Last night I refused to watch constant election coverage; I checked a news outlet periodically and went to bed before ten. I woke up, hoping to read the results and to finally be done with all this crap, only to see that my LiveJournal and Facebook friends had exploded with post-election reactions. To their credit, almost all of my LiveJournal friends had extremely logical, reasonable posts- even if they had voted for McCain- about this being, if nothing else, an historic event. On the other hand, half of Facebook was whining about how now they're living in a socialist state and will be losing all their money, how their health care's going to suck, how an all-Democrat D.C. can bring nothing but doom for the entire country, and even, once, that "the antichrist is rising."

Let's face it. I'm fine with people being happy their candidate won, if they were really into the election. But no one on either side should be assuming that Obama's campaign platform is going to be carried out exactly. A platform is made up of the things you'd like to be able to make happen- but since our president is not a dictator, they may not be able to actually happen. We have a system of checks and balances, and even with a Democratically controlled Congress, not all campaign promises can come true. Even if they did, they would not ruin the U.S. as we know it, much less the world, and if you truly believe that than I truly believe you're not thinking intelligently. On the other side of the coin, they may bring some positive change- but more than likely, like every president before him, Obama will cause at least minor negative things as well.

If something about Obama or his policies upsets you that much, write to your elected officials and try to do something about it. Obama's policies aren't automatic and inevitable, and if they really upset you, do more than complain on Facebook. If you don't take the time to be politically active in some way other than just voting, I think you forfeit your right to bitch about it any more.

And if nothing else, be happy that a majority of America is not racist enough to refuse to vote for an African-American son of a Muslim. That's a definite step, by which some other countries around the world are probably pleasantly surprised. While I don't want to champion this as a 'win' for African-Americans, I do think it may help perceptions of the U.S. abroad as well as the perceptions of race in young children here. I was also glad Obama won some traditionally Republican states, especially my home state of Indiana, but only because it signifies that some people aren't too stuck in their ways to vote for something more than a certain party.

Regardless, get over it. At this point, it's a decided issue. It's over. Barring any surprising events, Barack Obama will be the next president. Period.

Congrats to him, condolences to McCain, and high-fives to all you who, like me, are just plain glad it's over.

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