Life after polls

Taylor Burgess – Opinion Writer |

I already know that Wednesday, November 7, 2012, the day after election day, is a good day. But, before you make assumptions: I am no foolish pundit, so overconfident in my candidate that I taunt my enemies after the numbers are in.

In fact, my prescient calm has nothing to do with specific sides, candidates or outcomes. It is founded in an inevitability: the election will be over. As simple as that. Some will see this reality as a cause for celebration, others panic; I merely see opportunities.

“Opportunities for what?” you may ask. “We’ve lost our shot at plugging this sinking ship,” you may groan; or, alternatively, “We don’t need opportunities anymore; President _______’s got the wheel,” you may say with nationalist fervor.

And you—or politically polar you—would be right. There’s a sense in which the election is The Opportunity: the one chance we, collegiate citizens of modest means, get to influence national-level politics.

Due to this, election season—in my eyes, anyway, chronic confrontation-avoider that I am—turns many otherwise mild-mannered people into overbearing, proselytizing crusaders for their candidate or pet issue. The crux is the time crunch: no time for respectful dialogue when the fate of the world’s greatest nation hangs in the balance.

But, once again, you, even while forcing your opinions down my throat, would be in the right. There is a legitimate sense of urgency, accelerating in intensity, which precedes the polls; you can, and should, catch the wave and promote your cause. Now, however, the energy is spent, and the results are in (or being counted). What “opportunities” could possibly remain?

Ones that have nothing to do with politics—a chance to define ourselves by affiliation with people groups that aren’t Republican, Democrat, socialist, Marxist, libertarian, constitutional monarchist, anarcho-capitalist, etc. After all, what are you, Samford-locked student, going to do in the meantime? Unless you actually are an anarchist, and plan on fomenting la revolution via molotov cocktails through a window at the Supreme Court of Alabama, your options are limited. You could speculate about the next four years of administrative policy—the internet and major news networks will be right there with you—but how productive is that, really? The die is cast, my friends; in some senses, we are now sitting ducks, political savvy notwithstanding.

So accept your situation and move on. Focus all that raging energy elsewhere, preferably a field that unifies society and builds culture outside the purely political sphere. You’ve said your piece; now is the time to shut up and prove your constructive substance—without sloganeering and sign-waving. And if politics really is your only source of joy and industry, you have an excellent opportunity to pursue something new. There are never too many writers, thinkers, volunteers, musicians, friends, lovers, families, architects, social workers—you get the idea.

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