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.