As I write this, it’s one week before the election so I have no idea who won or lost. I wanted to make sure this was written ahead of time so no one could accuse me of pandering to either side or gloating on behalf of whoever won. So who won? In the absence of a crystal ball I have consulted the next best thing: Magic Eight Ball. “Who won the hotly contested Senate race?” The answer: Better not tell you now. Who says this thing isn’t sentient?
To whomever won, congratulations! Always remember you work for the people now regardless of whether they voted for you or not. I don’t envy you that challenge but trust you are up to the task.
To whoever lost, congratulations on a race well run. Chances are you have a sweet private sector job to fall back on so I won’t feel to sorry for you. Remember, in a strange twist, the winner actually works for you now. Don’t be afraid to express your opinions but do so in the spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation versus bitterness.
As for the rest of you, put down your AK-47 Rambo, war is over.
Anyone who has followed along here on Patch knows the war metaphor is appropriate. The “dialogue” between opposing supporters in the Senate race has been as wildly bitter as an Alexis and Krystle cat fight—minus the lingerie and obligatory fall into a pool. Observers who didn’t necessarily have a horse in this race (and judging by past voter turn out, that’s most of us) have watched in fascination, as a relatively small group of strangers have become enemies with a bitter resolve, trading statistics and insults at a furious pace. Wade into the discussion at the risk of having your skin verbally peeled from your body and used like a rolled up towel to crack you on the ass.
But now it's over, and some of us are facing the harsh reality that our horse broke stride and pulled up short, and all the rhetoric in the world won’t change it. The winners are taking pictures at the paddock and the losers are tearing up their racing forms and cursing the jockey. It's unfathomable, hurts like hell. How can everyone who voted for that other (guy or girl) be so fargin’ stupid? So completely uniformed? Clueless? Haven’t they been reading all my posts? The statistics? The endorsements? How clever it was when I found a derogatory word that rhymed with the other guy’s last name?
So now what do I do?
Well, if you woke up Wednesday morning already thinking ahead to the next election, prepared to bury your head in the dirt for the next few years then go straigt back to bed and don’t wake up until you’ve come to your senses. Pouting about it won’t do you any good. Clogging up Patch with your verbal spitballs won’t change anything. The only real choice you have is the hardest to make.
Impossible? Hardly. I remember watching the 2005 White Sox World Series run at . It was the Wild Card series, White Sox versus Red, game 3. There was a table of over-served Bosox fans (an oxymoron, I know) that were as vocal as they were obnoxious. One guy in particular spent most of the game in my face, taunting me about everything: Manny is gonna go yaaard, the White Saax aar done, deep dish pizzaaa sucks, the South Side is a slum, real men put ketchup on their hot dogs, etc... This went on for 2 ½ hours and reached a crescendo when the BoSox loaded the bases in the seventh and faded into a whimper when El Duque whiffed Johnny Damon on a down and away 3-2 pitch. Game effectively over.
After the last out was recorded and the White Sox mobbed Bobby Jenks on the mound, this guy came walking slowly over to me on his way out. I was prepared for a right fake followed by a left hook, but he surprised me. He extended a hand, gave me a sincere handshake, looked right into my eyes and said “Good luck the rest of the way wit yur team”.
I never forgot that.
It must have been hard as hell, but he had the character to do it. Instead of pouting and running his mouth off (or worse) he chose to be a man and accept it with as much dignity and grace as he could muster. He didn’t have to, but he did.
So my advice (yeah I know you didn’t ask but this is my column so bite me) is to embrace the unimaginable and reach across the divide to shake your adversaries hand and support her or him so they can do their job. Can’t bear it? Then pretend your kids are watching and set an appropriate example. You can’t change the outcome but you’ll feel better. The sun will rise tomorrow and those yard signs make great supports for your tomato plants in the garden.
As for the rest of you, welcome back to Patch! We are your source for local knowledge you can’t live without!
Here on Downers Grove Patch you’ll find information about community events, our award winning schools and all the wonderful people who work so hard to keep them that way, and features on some of the local residents who make this the attractive and vibrant community it is. You’ll also find Lynn Hudoba’s hilarious and heartwarming column focused on raising an amazing and beautiful daughter with autism—it's the best thing on Patch and we are fortunate to have it. Looking for parenting advice? Check out Sara Bieda’s wonderful “Parent to Parent” column.
My column is titled “Subdivisions” and contains musings and ruminations on everything from community signage to crime and punishment. I typically write it from a bar stool which explains alot. Looking for a run-on sentence? You’ve come to the right column.
Here’s to the post election Patch, reborn and pundit free!