Monday, November 7, 2016

The Day After (to be read on Wednesday, November 9, 2016)

There was an election yesterday. Did you hear about it? Chances are you did. It's been pretty much impossible to escape it for the past several months. And as the number of days dwindled down to a precious few, the negative campaign ads and phone calls and Tweets and Facebook memes and angry shouting between people who were, before it all started, bosom buddies, has just gotten louder and more insistent.

But on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, most, if not all, of the noise will be finished.

Oh sure, no matter who wins, there are going to be grumbles about the election being fixed, or rigged. No matter who loses, there are going to be people who insist that President Elect So-and-So "will never be MY President!!" And no matter who comes out on top, there are going to be a lot of people in your life - family, friends, coworkers, parents, kids - who are going to be feeling sad and frustrated, because their candidate didn't win and yours did.

Or - it may be the other way around.

So - how to survive the crushing depression that at least half the people in your life (perhaps including you) are going to be feeling Wednesday morning, November 9, 2016?

Well, here are some ideas to help you cope. Not in any particular order, just as I think of them.

1. If your candidate won - be a gracious winner. Don't stride into work, smirking and clapping people on the back, saying, "Thank god YOUR candidate didn't win, eh, Jack? We'd all be sunk then! Heh heh!"
After all, if your candidate lost, how would you feel if Jack did that to you?

Remember that fine old Biblical adage: do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Well, if your candidate wins, put yourself in the place of your friends whose candidate lost, and treat them the same way you hope they'd treat you, if it were the other way around.

Commiserate with them. Say something like:

"Hey, man, sorry about that. But you know what? [fill in name of losing candidate] sure put up a hell of a fight, didn't [he or she]? You know, I didn't agree with [his or her] policies, but wow, that was an amazing campaign! Did you ever think we'd see anything like that in our lifetime?"  Etcetera, etcetera.

Then offer to treat them to lunch. If their candidate lost, they're probably worrying about what's going to happen to the economy in the next four years. So getting a free lunch as a consolation prize may be a good way to smooth things over.

2. If your candidate lost: be a gracious loser. If you don't think you can be completely sincere in your congratulations to those of your friends who rooted for the winner, call in sick. Stay home, read a good book, watch an old movie. ("Citizen Kane" comes to mind as an excellent choice.)  Don't spread doom and gloom around any more than necessary. After all, if the winning candidate really turns out to be as bad as you think they will, there'll be plenty of doom and gloom heading everyone's way pretty soon. Why add to it?

3. Remember - no matter who wins, this is still America. Every candidate has the absolute right to question the results and ask for a recount. Chances are it won't pan out, but hang back and let them do it. No one is going to feel good about a questionable result. We all want to be sure that the person who won really did win, fair and square.

4. Stay off social media - especially Facebook. This is absolutely essential to your continued mental health and well-being. If your candidate won, you're going to be super-tempted to post annoying memes making fun of your friends' and families' loser choice. And if your candidate lost, they'll be tempted to do the same back atcha. Stick to cute puppies and kittens for a while, and "unfollow" anyone who doesn't.

5. Hang in there. We'll have to go through this whole thing again in four years. But meantime, we've got a lot to look forward to: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, Passover, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries ... whatever holidays you celebrate, there are going to be a whole bunch of them coming up before the next election. Start looking forward to them now.

Because the election is over - and no matter who won, or who lost - remember, we're all in this together!