After nearly a year of primaries and campaigning, the 2012 election is finally over. It’s a relief for this to be over and done with; I’m not sure how much more anxiety or how many more campaign videos I could have dealt with before completely breaking down. Now it’s over, and we have another four years with Obama in office.
Perhaps it’s just because I made a conscious effort to not become involved with the last election and opted to have my sole informant be the Weekend Update section of SNL, but this election seemed to mean a hell of a lot more than did the one held when I was fourteen. This time around, I actually took the time to (gasp) keep up-to-date on the candidates’ views and watch the debates. I found out that politics is not nearly as boring as I thought it was. Go figure.
The fact that I was actually invested this time around made election night weigh much more heavily on my conscious. Also, being able to vote and take part in the decision might have had something to do with it… maybe.
As I counted down the hours until I would submit my ballot at New London High School, I started to understand the true weight of voting. When you’re a kid, democracy is just that thing that they sing about in Schoolhouse Rock and the reason that you have to listen to hours of speeches for middle school Student Council elections. Bubbling in my choices kind of gave me flashbacks to taking the SAT, except that this time my choice influenced someone other than myself. The action itself was very anticlimactic, but thinking about what it signified was kind of chilling.
As the night wore on and I attempted to focus on both my homework and the progression of votes coming in, all the while keeping track of what was being projected and what had actually happened, I got progressively more frustrated with the teachers that had bothered to assign work. Didn’t they know the night would be spent, depending on the results, either in blind and joyous exaltation or clutching my uterus and screaming in fear? How insensitive of them!
While I was in Cro during the “non-partisan” election party (run by, ironically, the Conn College Democrats) I was not actually at the party. No, I was sitting in the Voice office repeatedly refreshing the election map on CNN’s website and listening to Avril Lavigne because I was feeling angsty about the future as Romney’s numbers kept climbing and the entire Midwest turned red.
So when screaming and general chaos ensued outside the Voice office door I became very confused. According to my precious trackers, the total count was between 198 electoral votes for Romney and 244 for Obama so it couldn’t be over… right? For a moment I wondered whether they were happy screams or if maybe somehow California had surprisingly become a red state and everything was going to hell. I decided to leave my cave and join the rest of campus.
I didn’t even have to look at the TV that read: “CNN PROJECTS: PRESIDENT OBAMA WINS ELECTION.” Cro’s Nest was filled with friends hugging and screams of “OBAMAAA.” I even got a high five from a random stranger. It felt kind of like New Year’s at midnight except that no one was kissing (that I could see) or drunkenly promising to work out more. For the first time in a while, I felt like there was some sense of community as a huge part of campus gathered together to celebrate. I recognize that Election Night was not a happy occasion for everyone, but even so, there was no blatant bitterness from those who voted for Romney. The celebration to me was not so much a celebration of “LOL YOU LOSE” but more of a giant collective sigh (or scream) of relief that it was finally over. Now, we could worry about other things. I am not suggesting that Obama’s victory is the solution to all of our problems; there are and will be other things to worry about in the next four years. But now we can focus less on who is going to solve the bigger issues and rather on how we should go about doing that. •