Politicians always hype up the importance of the race they’re running. This year is certainly no exception. “The stakes are high,” they say, and “this is a turning point,” and “this is the most consequential election in my lifetime.” And so on.
Another thing they tend to say after elections are over is that it’s “time for Americans to come together,” to “unify the country,” and start anew. You can bank on that sometime in the next couple of days.
That’d be nice, but it’s not going to happen, at least not this week. We’re basically a 50-50 country politically, divided into tribes who at this point develop their own set of facts.
Also, while I agree that this election is important, with serious consequences down the road, I think it’s worth remembering that we will all wake up Wednesday, and we’ll have to unload the dishwasher, and somebody’s going to have to rake those leaves, and, geez, I gotta get those tires rotated on the car. Life goes on.
And yes, we’ll get a break from the interminable Marshall-Bollier ads. But only for awhile, generally speaking.
We live in a democracy, which means we holler and scream at each other politically, year round. That’s fortunate. If we couldn’t do that, we’d be living in a dictatorship.
Some things will change because of the election, one way or another. But a lot won’t. And the things that will really change our lives have little to do with politics — a vaccine, for instance, or Google, or flying cars or a mind-blowing new book or a Springsteen album..
Politics will change, and attitudes will shift, and we’ll move forward in some messy way. Twenty years from now, I hope, we’ll have a better grip on reality.
In the next generation, somebody will emerge as a transformational figure, with a transformational message, at the moment that it’s completely necessary. That’s what happens in America. I have a lot of faith in that.
The most important shift at this moment would be for Americans to begin to re-acquaint themselves with facts. To drain some of the emotion out of politics, and to accept the notion that there is some objective truth out there. But that’s not going to happen tomorrow. I don’t have much faith in that, short-term. I sure do hope, long-term.
Somebody will win, and somebody will lose, and we’ll all go on as we’ve been going for the past four years, and the past 10 or 20 or 240. There will be another election in a couple of years, and the stakes will be high, and they’ll say afterward it’s time to come together, yadda yadda yadda.
And you’ll get up and go to work, and we’ll go forward, and the beat will go on.
And sometime, maybe as a consequence of this election in a way that nobody can see right now, there really will be changes that matter in our daily lives.