A collection of thoughts on Nov. 6.
With another historic (aren't they all?) United States election passing into history, some final comments are in order:
-- The social media has absolutely wrecked havoc on this year's election, from the smallest of local races to the big one for president. Twitter and Facebook were going wild in the final days prior to and hours after the election, and it's a wonder they didn't become overloaded and end up in a violent crash. Nationwide, more than a few "mature" friendships made via social media have ended over political beliefs, proving once again that cyberbullying is alive and well in adults.
But did the social media really influence the election results? That's a difficult one to answer. Some of the more vulnerable voters were, perhaps, swayed by the messages posted by various individuals and groups on these sites, like they were by the incessant ads and mailers coming their way. The most sensible voters, though, which we all like to think we are, took into account the whole picture in determining how they cast their ballots. And the majority of people who were planning to vote in the first place had their minds made up well ahead of time, so the tweets and posts were merely entertainment for them.
In the end, the biggest impact of social media on elections may lie in the sheer number of people who got out and voted because of it. More and more younger adults got out and did their civic duty this year, people from all sides of the political spectrum. If social media played any role in this, it can't be all bad, can it?
-- It's a given that following an election, the winners gloat and losers pout, to a certain extent. If behind-the-scenes reports can be believed, this year is no exception, although these thoughts are not being outwardly expressed by the parties or candidates. Watching Mitt Romney give his concession speech, couldn't you just see the smoke coming out of his ears and fire burning from his eyes? How about President Obama's acceptance speech – did we detect a look of sly irony in his smile and sugary syrup seeping out of his mouth?
Once everyone gets down to business come January, things are bound to get somewhat back to normal, at least on the national front. Minnesota, however, is a different story...
-- This year's election went surprisingly smooth, given that there were a number of close races throughout the country. Recounts were kept to a minimum and only a few equipment glitches – which are to be expected – occurred. The age-old problem of long lines in larger precincts was again encountered, and will continue until some viable fix is invented. The usual allegations of voter fraud have cropped up and are being investigated, but many have already been proved false.
So all and all, despite predictions to the contrary, Election 2012 was a success. This has nothing to do with who won and what passed but, rather, how much progress the country has made in making everyone's vote count.
Keep up the good work!