Whether or not the candidate that you would have liked to have won did, in fact, win the election last night I hope that you are not reacting with either too much joy or too much doom. To react with a sense of overwhelming happiness about this would be foolish – it is no surprise that I did, in fact, want Obama would win but even I realize that there is much work to be done. We are still engaged in the longest-running war in history; we still have contentious bipartisan arguments about healthcare and about rights that women won decades ago which stop us from making real headway on other issues or being more fiscally responsible. There are far too many people experiencing homelessness in this “advanced” nation with many families on the cusp of that situation for our economic recovery to not be a serious concern for all of us, whether or not this recovery should be placed at the feet of the president and his cabinet.
To react with a sense of overwhelming sadness or anger about this is also foolish, however. We should all be angry that so little was done during the last four years “across the aisle” by Congress and to be sad, angry, and/or disengaged is to ensure that this is allowed to go on yet again.
Though I could do without the contention, I do think it’s great that so many people were engaged and passionate. Don’t let that go. It isn’t simply “up to them” now that they have been elected. Stay informed and stay involved. And don’t just expect for politics to change the world. It is one avenue but not the only one. Find another path, get on it, and get busy in the meantime. Do you care about social justice? Are you concerned about the number of people in poverty? Find a non-profit, become educated, build relationships there and put in some time. Are you concerned about your local school system? It’s good and noble to get involved in the politics there, but if you’re really worried about the problem of kids not being able to read at certain schools then go to one of the schools of concern and be one of the after-school tutors. Making two-and-three sentence-long statements of fact on Facebook about our positions is not how we’re going to change the state of our country, no matter how many “likes” we get. Find the thing that keeps you up at night, find some agency that addresses it and get involved. Whether or not your candidate won or not as a country we’re losing due to a sense of inertia and apathy.