The elections are over, the elections are over! No more attack ads or Super Pacs. No more 4-year-old children driven to despair over endless “Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney” political ads.
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The political analysts are going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house, leaving us to do our own thinking. We can take down all the political signs on lawns and fence posts everywhere and put up Christmas lights. The person who illegally screwed a Stracener sign into the tree in my parents-in-law’s front yard can show up and remove it with the same zeal with which they put it up.
It’s the lull before the next storm of political controversy. I like this lull — when you can actually look outside and see the last few leaves on the trees instead of a statement of political preference; when you’re urged to contribute to the well-being of the community instead of to election coffers; when you gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays instead of congregating to discuss the merits or flaws of candidates.
The undecided decided; the independents were independent and the political parties got to strut their stuff. Nothing helpful actually got done in the last few months in Congress and despite urgent needs, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for their diligence during the holidays. Actions speak louder than words and I’m waiting for some shouting. But this is the lull, full of lame ducks, sore losers and swearing-ins.
Presidential elections have become like Super Bowl only without the tailgating and great commercials: the hype before; the play-by-play analysis with announcers in excited voices and the armchair quarterbacking the day after. Rockefeller Center morphed into Democracy Plaza as the ice rink became an interactive map of red and blue states and hourly results were projected on Jumbotrons and across the building facades. Instead of dissecting fumbles, news anchors talked of anomalies. And, as usual, the Electoral College intercepted the popular vote and scored its own touchdown.
So, now, either ebullient and victorious or dazed and indignant, we face the lull. Those who voted have the right to complain, except for the taxpayers in California who, despite being the most taxed people in the United States, opted for still more taxes with Prop. 30 — a blank check to our governor who did not say that the money raised by those taxes would go to schools, but that trigger cuts to schools would be avoided if we gave him that blank check. According to the text of the Proposition, the increase in taxes could go to schools, but it doesn’t have to, and we don’t have any control over where it will be going.
We’ve all heard that Nature abhors a vacuum, and it must be true, or why would we be filling this lovely lull with complaints and dire predictions about what will happen now that the people and propositions we voted for didn’t make it?
Let’s pretend, just during the lull, to believe the declarations of members of Congress as they swear to work together for the good of all; to right the wrongs they created during the campaign and to get down to business and get something done to make things better.
Let’s have a bonfire of political signs and make s’mores instead of roasting political candidates. During the lull, I believe that the people who are already talking about potential presidential candidates for 2016 should go outside with the smokers and that any discussion of “red” or “blue” should refer to the choice of sweaters for your dog’s Christmas gift.
Some people will have a little extra to be thankful for this holiday season. I’m just very thankful that the elections are over.
Wendy Schultz is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. Her column appears bi-weekly.