My First Presidential Election: Aftermath

Yes, I know I’m a bit late with this, in the aftermath of the storm that was the 2012 elections.

As first presidential elections go, this was an intense one. Although I’ve never considered myself extremely political, the amount I invested into the election and its results surprised me. Of course, this election included platforms far more polarized than before: the chasm between the environmental, educational, and social opinions was incredible.

The first hour consisted of sheer panic. We don’t have cable. How am I supposed to know what’s going on?! After a few minutes, I remembered the existence of technology and went on the Internet.

Since we don’t have cable, and I’m the techie with an extra computer monitor, we turned my usually-private room into the election hub. And thus started the most agonizing three hours of my life.

I never imagined how passionate and invested I would be about the election. I had never felt the true understanding of each political platform and rooted so much for one candidate. So much was in the balance: women’s rights, environmental progression, and educational reform—I didn’t want to see America ruin itself (which is, ironically, what the other side was saying).

I followed each fall and gain of a state while clutching a half-empty bottle of Arbor Mist (strawberry) to my chest. Please please, I prayed. I shouted—quite audibly—at Florida for its indecisiveness (in fact, I’m not even sure they had decided the day after). I checked on the “512 Paths to the White House” and filled in each state corresponding to the results. It was almost mentally debilitating when North Carolina went to Romney and I saw the numbers of 7 paths (Romney) vs. Obama’s 8 paths.

The minute my jank Huffinton Post election map along with the politico.com map declare Obama to have won Ohio, I was almost afraid. Apparently, if Obama had really won, the “512 Paths” said that there was absolutely no paths for Romney left. Afraid to allow my happiness to bubble out, afraid that what I was receiving was false news—to fall from such a high would be dangerous. Thankfully, one of my roommates pulled up NBC on her iPhone (Oh, you), and they were also declaring it.

We jumped up, stared at each other for a good 5 seconds and it burst. We ran through the house, screeching like flying monkeys. We pounded on our roommate’s door, the one she shut hurriedly when she realized that we were following the election, locking herself in to watch “something happy” while also downing her own bottle of Arbor Mist because she couldn’t take it.

That night ended around 4 AM. We all ran to the Diag (to my extreme unhappiness), cheered with the rest of the Michigan Democrats, and the drove to Steak n’ Shake for our celebratory dinner, bonding with our waitress over our win.

I’m unsure of if I will ever be as invested as I was for this election—the first one that I had a hand deciding—and the familiarity of the recumbent. But as first elections go, this one was extremely memorable, the closeness of the race (although I hated it at the time) made the win that much sweeter.

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