“I don’t normally post about politics, but…” Whoa there. Dangerous first words. Typically when I see this on Facebook, its followed by some irrational, vomit-inducing political rant that I wish I had never seen. Well, I’m about to make the same mistake. But its election night, darn it. And my team is about to get their butts kicked. Again. How can that be???
I had an early indication that Romney would lose when I showed up at Greenbrier West Elementary School at 6am to help pass out those annoying sample ballots they shove in your face before you go in to vote. Yea, that was me.
Anyway, I show up at the polling place and I note a stark contrast in campaign swag: the Republicans are giving out left-over Halloween candy, and the Dems are giving out Starbucks and donuts. Early evidence of a strong Democratic ground game.
Before I go any further, I note that I consider myself a fairly reasonable conservative Republican with occasional moderate tendencies. For instance, I can’t stand where this country is headed, but at the same time I don’t think it’s anyone’s business that the President plays golf on the weekends (in fact I think its cool). And I could not care less what President Obama’s law school transcript looks like. Seriously people.
And then there’s my wife. Her political views range from extreme Republican to borderline fascism. Like, when I say I think global warming is legit, I’m dismissed as a “FREAKING LIBERAL!” and the conversation abruptly ends. So yea, as much as I love her, we don’t talk politics very often.
Anyway. I’m volunteering at the polls and some clown walks up and starts planting Obama yard signs all over the place. Part of me wants to tell him how ridiculous he looks thinking this will make any difference whatsoever in the outcome of the election, but then I realize that I am here handing out flyers that will also probably have no impact whatsoever on the outcome of this election. So it’s fair game.
Then he looks at me and says “DOES GOP STAND FOR GREED OVER THE PEOPLE?!?!” Note: this is how political nerds trash-talk. In a moment of vulnerability, I smiled and said nothing. Sweet comeback. This exchange is yet another indication of a strong Obama ground game.
As I continue to hand out sample ballots, I am gently reminded by the election official that I am standing closer than 40 feet to the door of the polling place – a big time no-no. If I were a Black Panther, Fox News would be all up in my grill right now. But fortunately the networks took it easy on me. Phew.
After my shift (6am – 8:30am), I vote and head to work. And with all the Facebook posts about the election, my productivity levels reached March Madness status. Yep, I was glued to my smartphone.
And here’s a statistical breakdown of what I saw:
– % of people who told me I need to exercise my right to vote: like, 100.
– # of sappy posts about democracy: like, 80.
– # of “the world is gonna end no matter who gets elected” posts: 19.
– # of “this is why I voted for my candidate” rants: too many to count.
And yet I couldn’t get enough of this stuff. I had spent a whole year “unfriending” hyper-chatty liberals and “ignoring” people who insist on debating abortion and gay marriage on Facebook for this very day. I take a moment to thank God and Mark Zuckerberg for the “unfollow” feature right about now.
Note: I know conservatives are quite vocal on Facebook too. This is a double-standard I’m strangely ok with.
Anyway, here’s how my work day went: Check CNN, check Fox News, check Facebook, work for a few minutes, check MSNBC, check Facebook. And then repeat a million times.
Heading home, I get the same sick feeling in my stomach that I got the day ObamaCare was passed. Oh man. This is really happening.
Knowing I was in for a crazy night (and that Jackie would be at Bible study for a few hours), I invited my mother-in-law to come watch the coverage with me. Noone wants to die alone.
So it’s me, the kids (obligatory mention of the fact that they are super cute), and my mother-in-law watching the coverage on CNN and drinking heavily – adults, wine; babies, milk. CNN’s John King is indicating that it’s not looking good for Romney. I hate hearing it, so I flip to Fox News, where I know they will be telling me what I really want to hear: Romney still has a chance. Phew. I’m safe here.
Let me take this opportunity to say I’m glad I have a few years before I have to explain the Electoral College to my kids.***
*** That, and the offside penalty in soccer.
But for now, I know how the Electoral College works, and I see that it’s working against Romney. So even though it means absolutely nothing, I take irrational solace in the fact that Romney just won the state of Alabama. I’m getting desperate here.
At this point it’s about 9pm, and small communities in CO, VA, FL and OH are getting some serious face time. A friend points out that FoxNews has called Indiana for Romney, but CNN has not. This is why conservatives like me keep coming back to Fox. In their suspicious “Fair and Balanced” way, they comfort us.
Back to CNN, where John King is furiously pressing buttons on his fancy electronic map. He wants to tell us Obama won Florida, but he won’t quite do it. He wants to tell me Obama is gonna win Ohio, but he won’t quite do it. I feel like I’m playing Mortal Combat and have reached that point where the fight is lost, and all that’s left to do is brace for my opponent’s awesome finishing move. Now just FINISH HIM!
Back to Facebook, where my liberal friends are launching their gitty posts, and my fellow conservatives are strangely silent. Kick me. I need to avert my eyes from my Newsfeed before I start a Facebook genocide of all my liberal friends. ***
*** Note: perhaps this is what it felt like for my liberal fraternity brothers when I woke them up chanting “GOP!” after the 2004 election was called at about 3am. Come to think of it, yea, I probably deserve this.
So after consuming several hours of election coverage (and several glasses of wine), I call it a night. If this were a Monday Night Football game and my Fantasy outcome were still undecided, I would not be heading upstairs. But this election stings the nostrils, and I can’t take it anymore. The networks hadnt called yet, so I did: you win, Obama. You apparently always do.
Like it or not, the race for 2016 starts now. And I hope the next Election Day doesn’t hurt as much as this one did.
But if it does, rest assured I’ll be sticking with Fox News… where the coverage is Fair, Balanced, and Comforting to a wounded conservative.
THE POLITICAL VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS POST ARE MINE AND MINE ONLY, AND NOT THOSE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. I ALSO NOTE THAT I AM NOT ON ACTIVE DUTY, WHICH MEANS THE WORK I DID AT THE POLLS WAS PERFECTLY LAWFUL. See “2012 DoD Public Affairs Guidance for Political Campaigns and Elections” Section 9.4.2. And yes, I am definitely a lawyer now.