Maybe I’m the only one whose soul feels a bit displaced right now. It’s like I’ve spent all day riding roller coasters and eating funnel cakes at Six Flags, only to get lost in the parking lot at closing time, feeling lightheaded and pressing the non-existent button on my manual car key while asking myself, “Where do I go from here?”
Because, really–where do I go from here?
The election is over. Now what?
Frankly, I’ve made politics more of a priority in my life in the last year than I ever thought I could. I blame it on myself never getting into reality television. Why glue my eyes to the likes of Kim Kardashian or that munchkin-esque toddler queen on TLC when I can receive less-guilty but just as compelling pleasure from watching Democrats and Republicans duke it out from the campaign trail?
I am that person who has visited this website at least five times a day in the past month. I took notes during debates whilst rapidly retweeting a slew of fact-checks. I calculated electoral majority in my free time. How many electoral votes does each battleground state have? Ohio, 18. New Hampshire, four. Florida, 29. Virginia, 13–and so on and so forth.
Finally, I proudly filled out my absentee ballot with my neatest handwriting and kissed the envelope before dropping it in the mailbox.
I type now, as a political junkie who feels without substantial purpose. Sure, politics will always be around, but elections cycles are like highly anticipated Starbucks drinks–and they just stopped serving the Pumpkin Spice.
Perhaps it’s a good thing that election season has come and gone. After all, it’s only when the bumper stickers are slapped on and yard signs staked through the cold swing-state soil that the best and worst of American society come to light.
‘Twas the season where it was socially acceptable to know not the first thing about the political candidate you support, and root for them anyways. No longer does social media resemble your high school spirit week leading up to the big Homecoming game, with only a quarter of the cheering section really knowing the words to your fight song.
Best regards to buzzwords like “47 percent,” “Big Bird,” and “Obamneycare.” Now that all the red, white and blue confetti’s been swept off the floors of McCormick Place, the YouTube views have declined, the Twitter handles are silent, and the Internet must find new inspiration for gifs and memes.
If someone dresses up as a binder full of women next Halloween (yes, I did see that this year), I have a right to acknowledge their Staples wardrobe as “sooo last election cycle.” Granted, some candidate’s faces will always be displeasing to look at, and such replica masks make for fabulous repeats every October.
Ohio is back to being one of those random states you drive through on your way to anywhere else. Independent voters no longer have to screen their calls to avoid being verbally canoodled. I can watch a legitimate commercial on television, not those “gimmicky” Anti-Robert Tsei spots that seem to play on at least one channel at all times.
It’s all over. Mitt Romney conceded. Barack Obama won a second term. Elizabeth Warren is your new Massachusetts senator. As for Scott Brown? I don’t think you’ve seen the last of him.
Now, TIME and every other news source out there is prepping us for 2016 like you’re already supposed to be picking out truffles at the Godiva store for Valentine’s Day. And in spite of this brutal election hangover, I can’t help but still look forward to the elections ahead.
Why? Because as annoying and ridiculous as election season is, and as much as I think it brings out the true absurdities of society, I will always be a political junkie. More so, I will always be an American citizen.
Election season brings new aspirations and faces. You may not agree with some of them, but it’s still a reminder to ourselves that as Americans, we have the inalienable right to change our minds about how this country is run, if we so choose. A voting ballot is a symbol of choice and freedom that so many other countries desperately desire, and here we are with the privilege to use them every year if we please!
Call it a horserace filled with unflattering red-faced or too-tanned stock images. An endless monologue of “What I really meant to say was…” and the cherry-on-top cries against the Electoral College if your political party doesn’t win. A money machine. A nuisance or an inconvenience if you must.
But never call the election season unnecessary.
Now excuse me, I have the next race to prepare for.
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