Let me tell you about the time when my choice for presidential candidate lost. Back in 2004, I volunteered for the Kerry presidential campaign. I wasn’t originally a Kerry supporter, I started out as a Howard Dean supporter. However, after Kerry won the primaries, I decided I was going to do everything I could to insure that Bush was not re-elected.
There were so many things I disliked about Bush. In fact, there was a couple I was friends with that asked me why I opposed Bush. Not only did I answer them, but I wrote out an entire essay (in outline form, with links) detailing various things I disliked about his presidency.
The night of the 2004 elections, a large group of us decided to watch the returns at this bar call The Satellite on Capital Hill in Seattle. There were probably about a dozen of us sitting around the table drinking. My drink of choice, to this day, are Manhattans. (Maker’s Mark, perfect, with a cherry instead of a twist…in case you were wondering.)
As the night wore on, and things got steadily worse, I started to console myself with more liquor. Now, we all know that most stations will keep a running ticker tape at the bottom of the screen with the various states’ results as they come in. The ticker tape tends to have about a five minute loop and plays throughout the night.
I got so sloshed, that every time I saw a blue state come up on the television screen, I would call out. “Massachusetts, woohoo! Connecticut, hooray, etc.” Then, five minutes later, “Massachusetts, woohoo! Connecticut, hooray!” I did this intermittently for HOURS.
As the night wore on and it became increasingly clear Kerry was going to lose, people started getting up and moving around. Our group migrated towards the far end of the room. Terry sat me up on a stool at the bar while we were all sitting around talking. Meanwhile, I kept calling out the blue states as they caught my attention. Terry likes to say it was my “drunk girl mating call.”
Sure enough, some guy comes up to me at the bar and starts talking to me. So me, being a friendly sort of drunk and happy to talk to strangers on most occasions, turned to him and started discussing politics.
Meanwhile, Terry was across the way sitting with my best friend and laughing. Unbeknownst to me, while I was earnestly talking politics, creeper dude was busy groping and touching himself. Here I am, completely oblivious, and the guy is fondling his crotch!
So, after about a minute of seeing what was happening, Terry got up, walked over and put his arm around me. I turned to him, looked up, gave him a lopsided smile and start to explain to him that I was talking about the elections, when Terry just smiles, nods and grabs my breast. Just, BAM! Grabs my boob. My eyes got really big and I gave a startled, “Oh!”
He just gives me a kiss and as I turn around to continue my conversation, the guy I was “talking” to was gone. That night, as we made our way back to the car, I ended up stumbling and puking on the Jimi Hendrix statue on Broadway.
THAT’S how to react to the loss of an election.
Now it’s been a few days since the most recent election. I think most of us have had a chance to decompress a bit from all the campaigning and political ads. We’ve also had a chance to disseminate the results. There have been numerous posts and programs discussing the role that demographics played in this election, and I have to say that I’ve found a lot of it interesting and hopeful.
There have also been a lot of people from the Republican and right-leaning side saying some pretty hurtful and misguided things. It serves to remind me that, even though my preferred candidate won, we still have a lot of work to do in this country.
That being said, I’ve been hesitant to write about all the negativity because I know what it’s like to be rooting for the losing candidate. I know what it’s like to feel like half the country has betrayed you and resigned to the fact that you have to put up with the guy who has been in office for another four more years. I was kind of hoping things would start to die down after the first couple of days.
Instead, it seems like the furor has been building. Murray Energy laid off 156 employees the day after the elections, claiming Obama was waging a “war on coal.” You can read about it from the perspective of one of the laid off employees on reddit.
Applebees, Olive Garden, Domino’s, Papa Johns and countless others have already started talking about laying people off and cutting their employees’ hours because they don’t want to pay for health insurance and disagree with Obamacare. There have even been numerous cries encouraging these type of “revenge” layoffs.
Incidentally, the costs of Obamacare to large chains like these were found to be negligible by the Urban Institute. The healthcare costs would be most felt by companies with fewer than 50 workers, which are exempt from penalties and potentially eligible for premium tax cuts. Moreover, companies with 100 employees or less actually saw their aggregated costs go down. You can read about all their findings HERE. (I highly encourage you to read it!)
Because demographics seemed to play a large role in who voted Obama, we’ve seen a number of racist and sexist remarks made since the election. One guy blames it on sluts. Bill O’Reilly says the only reason why so many Hispanics voted for Obama is because they’re looking for a “handout.” You can watch the video below. And then there’s this girl, who just came right out and called the president the N-word, speculated whether there would be any assassination attempts…and promptly got fired for it. (Oh yeah, and insists she’s not racist.)
I’m really trying hard to empathize with how Romney supporters must be feeling right now. For example, when it was official that Obama had won, I posted, “All my friends and loved ones, let’s have a celebratory drink!” Most of my friends responded positively, however my cousin (who is Mormon and conservative) said, “I don’t need a drink. I’m already nauseous.”
Which, is completely fair and honest. I appreciate her candor, even if I disagree with her politics. So I said, “I’m sorry to hear it, <cousin.> We can have a conciliatory ginger ale together. I think we can agree that we both want the country to improve. Hopefully, many good things will come in the next four years so that everybody will be happy in the long run.”
I’d like to think my response was an example of how to be even-handed and empathetic, despite differing opinions. Overall, I think our society needs to learn how to disagree civilly more often. Democracy doesn’t mean you’re candidate is guaranteed to win. It just means you’re able to vote for the one you favor and work towards that end goal. (For now, anyway, we’ll see how it all plays out with the voter obstructionists.)
I’m disappointed to see so many people unwilling to compromise and come together as Americans first, party affiliations second. I’m frustrated with all the bickering and sniping. After how long this campaign has been, haven’t we had enough?
If you’re feeling like I do, check out this article written by a former Republican. I think the author perfectly articulates how I’m feeling in the election aftermath. Let’s hope the Romney supporters can just puke up their frustrations and accept their candidate lost. Then maybe we can all come together and make this country work.