Election hangover particularly painful this year

It feels like we’d had a double whammy this week. A painful election has quivered to an end, at least I hope it has unless the vote counting is dragging on in close contests. Plus daylight savings time has ended. The week with shorter days also started with cloudy, rainy gloom. Working folks found themselves driving home in unfamiliar darkness. This early November has its challenges.

 Bill Graham

Bill Graham

One third of our population is celebrating election results. Another third is mourning. Yet another third didn’t invest in either side and is just glad the campaign noise has subsided.

We do likely have unanimous agreement on one thing, thank goodness the political TV ads are done. Now we have to move forward through the election hangover, and the body and brain’s adjustments to less daylight, all in the same week.

I say painful election because we expect more of American democracy than what has been delivered. The negativity and distortions stain the process, discourage the young, and fatigue even those who have some measure of faith in all levels of governance.

We were spared on the local level somewhat in Platte County this election. The presiding commissioner seat was the only county office on Tuesday’s general election ballot. If there was any unsavory politicking in that race, it did not reach my mailbox or voice mail. However, the state senate race for our county was more difficult with muddy politics in the primary and general election.

But, Platte County is not a societal island. The national political battles and statewide election races washed over us all. I’ve never in my lifetime felt so much tension in the air prior to midterm elections. It wasn’t just the U.S. Senate seat up for grabs in Missouri. The soul of a nation seemed at stake, with no consensus agreement on what that soul should be.

I decry those who fan the flames of racism and religious intolerance. Platte County may not be a national center point for those issues, but we have the sub currents. So when elections and discussions across the nation veer in those directions, the darkness hangs over us all.

Speaking of darkness, late autumn brings less sunlight in the first place. Then the sudden change off daylight savings time makes the season’s change seem like a giant door slamming shut.  How do we press forward through winter’s approach and also clear our heads of a divisive election?

My best suggestion — we can become more involved in community in friendly, helpful ways. I’m not saying that national politics and social issues are not important. But I do believe that shrill political voices shouting to be heard in a splintered media world create overmuch noise that distracts us from what is outside our front door.

The darker days are best battled by getting outdoors, noticing sunset, looking up at the stars on clear nights. Perspective is refreshed.

Turn off the TV for a while. Visit a Mid-Continent Public Library. The reading lights are bright. A new book on the shelf might surprise and delight you. They have music you can check out and take home for awhile. Your taxes help support the libraries in several of our towns. In fact, the Weston branch is celebrating completed renovations this week, with an open house offering special activities and refreshments 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10.

More good news, Thanksgiving is around the corner. But that also means winter cold will be here in an eye blink. Make donations to a charity, volunteer if you have the time. Life takes hard turns sometimes against hard working people. Bad luck is real. Charities today are more organized than ever. They help people through the week, but also they guide them to long-term life plans to improve their situation.

Keep an eye out for a chance to help your neighbors, especially those getting a bit more senior in their years. Is there some autumn yard work you can help them with? Raking leaves reminds us the seasons are always on the move, and that sunny summer days always have returned to make more leaves, and always will. Better times for politics in America will be back someday, too.