In more ways than one — as I’ve professed many times — I’m a geek. I love to read. I love to learn. I am curious, ask too many questions and often annoy friends and loved ones with policy discussions they likely would rather pass on to discuss more light-hearted topics.
Election Day, therefore, resembles Christmas for me. I get nervous the night before, full of anticipation and eager to see what the day will bring.
Throughout the day, I overdose on news reports from various sources. I talk to friends about what they are seeing at the polls. I squeal with excitement when I hear the polls are packed. How exciting that so many people have chosen to get involved.
I stayed up with many others Tuesday night to track the results. While the cheesy “key race updates” on CNN and other news channels sound a little like nails on a chalkboard after the first three rounds, I’m never able to turn off the reports completely.
I often disagree with the analysis provided by the talking heads, but they at least provoke reactions and force me to think through what’s happening on my own.
Many — especially those talking heads — were surprised by the results of the election. They seemed taken aback and in shock.
In fact, I heard similar reactions from friends, family and colleagues. Some were shocked, but thrilled. Others were shocked, but full of dread. Few had no reaction at all.
Since Wednesday morning, Facebook and Twitter feeds have overflowed with political commentary. I have friends on both sides of the aisle, so I got a fairly balanced take on the reaction of the country.
Some friends shared photos and videos of protests in bigger cities across the country. Others wished those protesters would sit down and shut up. They lost, right, so get over it.
The best posts and reactions though, were those that took on a tone of optimism. We all have a chance to stop and respond to what’s happening in our country.
A response is thoughtful, logical and considers multiple points of view.
Instead, though, it seems many are simply reacting.
A reaction, as opposed to a response, is emotional, immediate and guided more by visceral feelings than by logic.
I urge all involved — whether thrilled or terrified by the results of the election — to take time to respond. Take time to consider all points of view.
It may not change how you feel, but it can make a world of difference in changing the tone of the conversation that will surely continue in our country for days, weeks or perhaps years.
One late night comedian chose to rejoice in the fact that we have fair and free elections at all, rather than lament the results.
As Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”