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The Day After and the Six Months Ahead

The day after an intensely divisive campaign season is a good time to focus on coping with snow and perhaps offering some hot chocolate to your neighbors.

The election cycle seems never-ending and in some respects it is. Today is the day after the crescendo of more than 18 months of rhetoric, hand shaking, name-calling, debate, anticipation and finally a day (or in the case of states with early voting) weeks of voting.

Regardless of who you supported or voted for, the day after a election can be a huge let down. It's like the moments after running a race. Even if you win, you're exhausted. It's not the time you consider how to better run the next marathon. It's the time you catch your breath or lick your wounds. 

Like the end of a marathon race, it's the day all involved are a little winded.

For candidates it's a chance to catch their breath.

For the winners and their staffs it's a day to let the adrenaline rush subside a little  and to begin moving out of the intense mode of literally "running" a campaign to regrouping for the huge job ahead.

For the unsuccessful candidate and their staffs it's also a chance to catch their breath and reassess what's next.

For voters it's a day to readjust to commercials that hype products instead of rip other humans beings to shreds. It's a day for celebrations or lamentations, depending on your perspective on the winners and losers

Pundits and social networking make those emotions harder to process. It's harder to catch one's breath as the screaming and scheming continue non-stop on air and on line.

Watching the pundits on the morning "new" shows this "morning after" it struck me that for many embattled pundits it's like the end of a bruising fight. The brawl is over but one of the combatants insists on screaming "oh yeah-and another thing... and another thing!"

It works both ways as victors play the role with words and postings that are akin to a brawler taunting his victm with "and stay down... don't.. you.. even.. think.. of getting up off the floor! I kicked your tail, so stay down there on the ground like the sniveling dog you are." (even if the results show a pretty evenly matched fight).

No, today is not the day to be too triumphant or too despondent. I would suggest that this is the day to let the adrenaline rush of the past day or week or month (or even months) subside.

Once everyone's head clears and the blinding sunlight of election night victory or the despair-inducing black clouds of defeat pass we will still be faced with the problems. Problems themselves are oblivious to politics.

Locally an emptystore front is still an empty storefront. Nationally, America's enemies are still America's enemies. The $16trillion debt is still the $16trillion national debt.

Those things would have been here today regardless of who won any election at any level.

My suggestion: For today let the adrenaline drain a little. Turn off the cable screamfests. Resist the temptation to call the holder of an opposing political viewpoint by a nasty name. If you need a couple of days to catch your breath-take them.

After a bruising campaign season, we must force ourselves to get out of fight mode. Don't bait those you disagree with on politics. Don't take any bait that is offered. The election results are what they are-whether your candidate won or lost.

Now we need to work on solving the problems using the hand the voters have dealt us. Politicans at every level need to find common ground and start from there... with an eye toward agreements, not disagreements. That goes for the White House, Congress, State Houses and Municipal Buildings.

It's been said that politics is the art of compromise. We have spent billions of dollars and most of the past two years working against that notion. We must now demand it of our politicians and encourage it amongst ourselves. That's a 180 degree turn in thinking and acting. It's a drastic change but maybe the forces of nature can help this time around.

We are looking down the barrel of a potentially significant snow storm. Grab a shovel and help a neighbor even if they had a yard sign that made your blood boil.

For the next six months at least let's focus on the things we agree on.

The next congressional and state house races start to gear up by Labor Day 2013 for the 2014 races. Members of Congress need to raise thousands of dollars a day to defend their seats. That work is already underway this week.

America has voted for virtually no change in the balance of power in Washington, so there's no need to wait until the next Congress is seated to get to work. For today, or even the rest of the week perhaps, just take a breather.

After that let's push our elected officials and ourselves to seek common ground as we work on solving problems.

The window of opportunity is short. Let's not waste it.

For political adrenaline junkies, just give it a try. Take some hot chocolate over to the people who live in a house with that lawn sign that so annoys you.

You can do it. The call to campaign battle stations will be sounded soon enough.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Chris Sullivan November 07, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Suggested edit: Change from: Locally an empty storefront is still an empty storefront. Nationally, America's enemies are still America's enemies. The $16trillion debt is still the $16trillion national debt. Change to: Locally an empty storefront is still an empty storefront. Nationally, the richest 10% of Americans still control two thirds of America's net worth. Household incomes continue to stagnate while corporate profit rises to levels unseen in our lifetimes despite the recession. 45,000 Americans die each year because they lack health insurance.
Bob Byrne (Editor) November 07, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Chris, I think you have missed my point about today entirely. Your guy won. The election is over. Stand down the missiles. It's time to offer solutions and let's all give the campaigning a break... at least for this one day.
Chris Sullivan November 07, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Bob, that wasn't a missile. I think you missed my point. Your article calls for reconciliation and yet (other than an empty storefront) you quote right-wing talking points as if they're this country's main problems. You seem to have missed your own message. This country has very pressing problems: debt, national security, income inequality, stagnant wages, healthcare, human rights, the environment, outsourcing, crime, exploding education costs and so on. I'm tired of pretending that only some of those problems exist, arguably the problems that are the least pressing. There is enormous debt, but there is no debt crisis in the US - if there were, there wouldn't be negative(!) interest on US bonds - yet this all we hear about. I live in Springfield - I grew up here and Springfield Patch's political posts are unmistakeably biased. I have a very strong feeling that the tone of this post would have been much different had "your guy" won. I believe you would have still called for our elected officials and ourselves to seek common ground, but I doubt this article would have asked to tone down the celebration as much as it does.
Bob Byrne (Editor) November 07, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Can you cite a specific example of what you consider to be "unmistakeably biased" posts on Springfield Patch. Quite frankly you have no idea whether my guy is your guy. I am calling for everyone to simply come together now, especially in Congress, to work together on finding solutions. I simply used some examples of issues that resonate in Washington and here in Pennsylvania. Had I wanted to incite one side or another I would have chosen more volatile and less broad issues. My point here is simple. I basically am calling for a truce, a (at least) temporary cease-fire in the political rhetoric from the campaign's endless litany of one party or the other's "failed" policies to a discussion of concrete solutions and ideas. Mostly via our influence on the representatives we have elected. My point is that we have what we have. A $16 trillion debt. I did not call it a crisis-you did. We have empty store fronts that need filling. We would have had those storefronts regardless of who won the election. Let me humbly suggest to anyone who wants to simply talk about talking points to start thinking in terms of offering specific solutions to the nation's problems. Otherwise we as a nation will simply be arguing in the backseat about what direction to head in, instead of taking control of our future and sitting in the driver's seat.
Chris Sullivan November 07, 2012 at 08:34 PM
You’re absolutely right – I was the one who referred to it as a “crisis”. But that’s why it’s brought up constantly, isn’t it? – because of one party’s claim that it is a crisis? I’m not saying the debt isn’t an issue at all, but debts were never talked about under W. Bush. His vice president even stated that the debt doesn’t matter. During our current presidential term, the debt has been used as an excuse for obstructing basic, common-sense legislation – legislation that (I believe) wouldn’t be considered controversial if the other party held the presidency. PA Senatorial candidate Tom Smith dangerously promised to “never raise the debt ceiling” in one of his earlier ads. It all comes across as a scare tactic. My main point is: it’s a talking point on one side, not on the other. If you want to mention problems this country has in an article about finding common ground, an issue that doesn’t resonate across the aisle is not an issue I would have mentioned. My first comment was a suggestion to provide some balance.
Chris Sullivan November 07, 2012 at 08:34 PM
With regard to Springfield Patch posts that are unmistakably biased: I’ve seen posts about Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio visiting the area yet none about Jill Biden visiting the area, the cavalrymen.com post (were we supposed to be outraged by the fact that our president prepared a zinger ahead of the debate?), there’s a picture of William Adolph casting his vote, but what about Jeremy Fearn? How about the line that accompanied the photo “Adolph says the turnout bodes well for GOP in this precinct”. Others: “View Debate at Springfield Romney Watch Party” “The View From Inside Romney Rally Press Pen” “Toward the end of Tuesday night's debate, moderator Candy Crowley stepped in to fact check Gov. Mitt Romney over a point on the Libya Embassy attack in favor of President Barack Obama – Debate: Was the Moderator Fact Check Right?” There was no balance to these articles or posts. In all honesty, I don’t think Springfield Patch should be a place to discuss national politics – there are far more than enough outlets for that. I do, however, think it should be a place to discuss local politics. Other than William Adolph’s photo yesterday, I didn’t see anything about the race between him and Jeremy Fearn. Why was that?
Bob Byrne (Editor) November 08, 2012 at 11:19 AM
Patch invited every candidate on every level in the 2012 election cycle to use Patch's local voices platform as a way to reach voters without the filter of reporters. We want Patch to be a resource to give a voice to anyone who wants to contribute and that includes politicians and political campaigns. We extended the same invitation across the board. In some of the 900 Patch sites across the country candidates took us up on our offer. In others, candidates chose not to. Our invitation still stands to any local candidate or elected official on any level of government as well as to interested members of the public. Patch's local voices blog is a forum that is available to any and all people who want to express their views on politics or any other subject of local interest. We edit blog posts only minimally for grammar, format style and civility within Patch's terms of use. Patch invites anyone who would like to express their thoughts to start a blog. It's easy to do. Simply click on the button that says "Blog on Patch" that you will find underneath the four top stories on the upper left section of the homepage.
TAS November 08, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Bob, I'm sorry your message was missed by the previous commenter. I hope you're right and we can move forward from this election. Great article!
SueLee November 08, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Nice job, Bob. It frustrates me when we can't just "agree to disagree" and get busy making the world a better place. We waste so much energy on negativity..... we're more alike than we are different. If we just focused on that.... we could get so much accomplished!
Chris Sullivan November 08, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Personally, I don’t think an invitation to write a blog is the same as covering the candidates. Patch is a hyper-local platform and is sorely needed in an age where traditional news media is dying. It’s been years since I’ve seen a Town Talk (although I believe it still exists). I don’t understand why the presidential election, presidential debates, numerous presidential campaign-related stories, etc. (all of which were one-sided) were all deemed worthy of Patch articles and Facebook posts and yet Patch didn’t even provide us with profiles of our local candidates. To be honest, all I even knew about Pat Meehan and George Badey were from their own literature in my mailbox. I would have appreciated a neutral, objective profile of the two candidates and I believe Patch would have been the perfect medium to offer this. Please consider it in 2014 (and beyond). I truly believe that doing so would be of great benefit to your readership and Springfield as a whole.
Chris Sullivan November 08, 2012 at 08:37 PM
TAS, I take exception to that characterization. I believe strongly in the message of this article. Now is the time to forego the attacks and party talking points (like the debt!), acknowledge the problems we can all agree are problems and come together and deal with them. Again, the purpose of my suggested edit was solely to provide some balance – something I believe is lacking on the Springfield Patch site and Facebook page. My family is made up of Catholics, Jews, Born-Again Christians, Atheists, the very liberal, the severely conservative, people who were home-schooled as children and people who grew up and were educated exclusively in “socialist” Europe. I haven’t heard (or said) one line of attack, complaint or boast about the election from any family member. This Thanksgiving, we will all come together to give thanks and, most importantly, put aside our differences. I hope our government can do the same.
Bob Byrne (Editor) November 08, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Chris, Duly noted and thanks for your feedback. Comments on this thread have now been closed.

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