As I write this, the polls are closed and the Republicans managed to stage a political comeback. But here's the question: Was it just me, or did anyone else feel like this was the ugliest election year in memory? I'm certainly old enough to know that every election year has negative campaigning, but to me, this probably was one of the worst.
Perhaps it was because news of the campaigns seeped into every medium I'm tied into. I couldn't get away from it.
Obviously the television and radio advertisements invaded every show I tried to watch with my family or listen to while driving anywhere. But my e-mail accounts (all five of them!) were bursting with messages from the various candidates seeking to persuade me that the other guy (or gal) was a heinous degenerate whose past was riddled with evil and unseemly activities that meant they were the worst thing for the government and our lives.
Oh, and it didn't stop there. My mobile phones (yes I have two) were constantly ringing with text messages from the same candidates with the same mean-spirited campaign messages.
Billboards, flyers in the mail, local candidates knocking on the doors, cars driving around with loudspeakers blaring ugly messages — I felt like I was in the eighth level of Dante's Hell.
Even on Facebook and Twitter, politics became the most common subject. Intermingled with all the crazy candidate accusations and false promises was a tidal wave of personal opinions from everyone I'm friended with or whom I follow.
For me, it all became noise. The issues and the platforms all kind of melted together into a raucous soup of nonsense that actually made me NOT want to vote. All I wanted was for the noise to stop.
But then reality set in. We've gone from a government dominated by a single party to one that is nearly evenly split. Whether you agreed with his policies or not, President Obama's agenda is likely to be stymied from this point forward.
Already lobbyists — from the insurance lobby looking to change the nation's health care agenda to business networks looking for help with workers' compensation, education, and more — are lining up to work with and sway the new republican lawmakers.
While the groups line up to start the business of Washington politics again, the rhetoric already is beginning to heat up. Pundits are examining the election results and sketching out predictions of the future of our country on the pages of The Wall Street Journal and in our local newspapers, national magazines, on television news, and/or the Internet.
Interestingly enough, this new wave of noise isn't focused on the facts about the policies and the changes that a split government will make (other than there's a good chance for gridlock). As of this writing, I've heard very little with regard to energy and air-quality legislation that directly impacts our industry.
Right now the noise seems focused on how the Republicans retook so many seats in the House and Senate. The focus is on the Tea Party movement's successes and the demographics behind it.
Let's get on with the business of fixing the economy of this country, getting people back to work, and yes, turning down the volume on all this political noise.
Seriously, is that too much to ask?.
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