If your Facebook is anything like mine, your friends are coming in three varieties right now.
There are the enthusiastic victors versus the devastated losers. “We got our country back!” and “Life as we know it is over.”
But then there are the exhausted peacemakers. “Let’s just put this behind us and get back to normal.”
Except maybe, well, let’s not.
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Is “normal” really where we want to be? Do we even know what normal is any more?
It was an emotional year. Maybe year and a half. OK, we’ve been kind of marching here since Mitt Romney’s concession speech in 2012, with the trenches being dug deeper and the rhetoric becoming more and more poisonous as each deadline was passed, each hurdle crossed and each step took us closer and closer to where we ended up on Election Day.
It was people getting in Twitter fights about other people’s Twitter fights. The politics of internet memes. We are so far beyond what our past two presidential elections were, can we even remember what it was like to have a race that was just built on two different sets of ideas about where we are headed and how we should get there?
Beyond those big every-four-year contests, we are now in a place where bipartisanship doesn’t exist the way it once did. A politician who reaches across the aisle has become as rare as Bigfoot, as elusive as the Loch Ness monster.
And before we feel smug about “politicians,” let’s look at ourselves. Social media sites have opened us up to the innermost political thoughts of our friends and family, and plenty of people deal with this by curating their acquaintances to only include the people who agree with them.
That leaves us each as lost as a boss who only surrounds himself with yes-men, brooking no dissent or input from those who might have another idea or might tell the emperor when he’s looking a bit naked.
So if the election season left you emotionally wrung out, let’s not get back to normal. Let’s get back to better. Let’s be the best voters we can be next time by being the best citizens we can be every day.
Whether your guy won or your gal lost, I think we can all agree that there was room for improvement in the process from the bottom up. We can demand more from the people running. We can demand more from the officials in place. We can demand more from ourselves, challenging each and every one of us to not just pay attention to what’s happening at every level of our government, but to get involved with more than a yard sign and a Facebook post.
Normal is a participation trophy for showing up. Let’s aim for a gold medal, and let’s not be satisfied with less.