I had a terrible case of voting fever today. Voting fever: a condition in which one’s ability and decision to vote causes severe emotional attachments to the map of the presidential race. It would have been much more tolerable had this been all I was doing. As a newly-voting college student, the worst possible thing that could have happened to me on election day did– I have a paper due tomorrow. How could I be expected to concentrate when states were changing colors before my eyes?
It’s not that I have never paid attention to the presidential elections before; in fact that is pretty far from the truth. There is just something different about knowing that this time, your pen, your dark-filled bubbles, your choice will actually enter the pool of votes and make a difference. Something invigorating, exhilarating. Something that influenced me to run around MIT’s campus for an entire day trying to find a place to notarize my absentee ballot on a day when I had multiple exams. Why anyone who has the ability to vote would not do so is beyond me. For how can we discuss, complain and contemplate our government and our future as a country knowing that we hypocritically did not try to affect it when we were given the chance?
After hours of constantly refreshing Politico.com, exclaiming when a state’s current numbers switched to an Obama-majority, expressing frustration when the first group of states counted all turned red (in case my affiliation wasn’t clear already, here you go 🙂 ), the end came quickly. With every state that turned blue, my heart went back and forth between hoping and not daring to hope, and suddenly, before I knew it, the world declared that it was over. As of my first election, I am one for one. As I wait for the speeches to begin, I realize there are few things I would not give to be in that massive crowd of people with waving flags, grinning faces, and upbeat music.
If I may be so bold, I have one request for this country. Although, we know the man who will be in the White House for the next four years, we still do not know the results of the popular vote. News channels are already declaring that President Obama will win the popular vote, but I think this is a dangerous prediction to make without knowing the results. Regardless of that result, however, the constitutional winner of this election is now President Obama. Even if Romney and his supporters continue to complain for the next few weeks that this should have actually been his presidency by the popular vote, it really doesn’t matter; according to the Constitution, Obama is the winner. After that, the best, most effective thing you or I can do is embrace this fact, and work to ensure that our ideals are reflected in the progress of this nation. I make this claim independent of the winner of the election. After the selection of our president, nothing can be gained from extending the ugly bickering. The hope and change, the movement forward depends on us and our cooperation. No matter what each candidate promises, no single man can take upon the challenges facing this country and completely turn it around. Let’s pledge to move forward from this moment, work together, and help our president help us.
Update (post-Romney speech): Thank you Mitt Romney for a short, gracious speech with little political rhetoric. I hope that you, your supporters and people on both sides of the aisle live up to your words of moving forward.