Reluctant Townie: What is a millionaire Mormon businessman to do?
If there is one thing that the 2012 presidential election has taught us as a nation, it's that Mitt Romney's underwear is not as magical as we previously believed.
Despite coming close to tying President Barack Obama in the popular vote, Romney got thunder-punched in the Electoral College on Tuesday night and was left to go back to his hotel with his 18 grandkids and Touch of Gray his temples in a sad, stony silence.
(Electile dysfunction: It can happen to anyone.)
In my sweetest dreams, the silk calf suspenders holding up Romney's socks ripped as he walked on stage to deliver his concession speech later that night.
But then, one must feel a certain twinge of sympathy for Romney. After all, it is said that robots cannot experience love — or ride the log flume at Six Flags. Is that a life worth living?
All things considered, he just spent untold fortunes and the better part of a decade trying to win the presidency, only to lose it by a score of 3-2. That would drive most of us to go home, take off our pants, drink two bottles of Scotch and watch "The Mighty Ducks" on repeat until our eyes ran out of tears.
But Romney, hindered by his religious beliefs, is unable to do at least one of those things (the most crucial part: drinking two bottles of Scotch), and he is likely prevented by environmental factors — 18 grandchildren, the ravaging effects of gravity — from lounging about his house sans pants. That leaves, as his only form of recourse, going home and watching "The Mighty Ducks" while weeping with his pants on — which is not a recipe for successful grieving, let me tell you (with more than a little authority on the subject).
So really, outside of instigating bare-knuckle bum fights behind the nearest pancake house, how is Romney expected to cope with his devastating loss? At 65, he is too grandfatherly to dance out his aggression like Kevin Bacon a la "Footloose." He seems too square to embrace meditation, too stiff for yoga, too white to join a reggae band. What is a millionaire Mormon businessman to do?
In the days leading up to the election, I'll admit that I began to worry. Mostly that I had forgotten to turn off the stove, or that someone was going to spoil "The Walking Dead" before I had a chance to catch up, but I also worried about the increasing possibility I might have to endure four years of a Romney/Ryan administration.
Was it comforting to know that half of the country felt the exact opposite way? If there were four tenants living in my apartment building, it is statistically guaranteed that no matter what, two of us would be miserable for the next four years.
There is something comforting about the certainty in those odds.
I was disheartened, though not surprised, to see the editorial board of this newspaper endorse Romney. (For the record, I wasn't consulted. And I fear "Letter from Birdland" wasn't, either.)
But just like with close friends or family members who lean right, a difference in political beliefs should not be a relationship deal breaker. Surrounding yourself with people who think differently than you can be beneficial to your world view and keep your analytical thinking skills sharp.
Just don't try to tell that to anybody on Facebook. Over the last few months, the social networking website suffered a brutal civil war, and in the days after the election, casualties litter the battlefield. Misspelled, poorly informed political rants, racist vitriol, populist parroting, liberal snark, communist fear-mongering, xenophobia and distant family members defriending one another after intense public arguments, Obama memes, shirtless Ryan memes, Ryan Gosling memes. And every last bit of it has been posted with the author's real name and picture above it, all of our discourse archived and owned by Facebook forever and ever.
As a country, we are as divided as we have ever been in my lifetime. Poor people hate rich people for having money. Middle-class people hate poor people for not having money. Rich people, for the most part, don't care because they can always get on their yachts and cruise to where the poor people are poorer and don't speak the same language.
More than $6 billion was spent on political campaigns this year, and ultimately nothing has changed. We are in the exact same position we have been in since 2010. Obama is in the White House. Democrats control the Senate. Republicans control the House.
Because politicians treat policy like a football game (if the other team has possession of the ball, do everything you can to make sure they don't gain any yardage), legislation will remain in a stalemate until the next election. That gives Republicans two years to obstruct the president from doing his job while simultaneously complaining to the American public that he is not doing his job.
And we'll fall for it. Well, some of us will anyway. The rest will fall for what the other guy is selling.
We need to come together, despite our differences, as citizens of this country. Liberals, hug your conservative friends. Conservatives, join your liberal friends in their drum circles. Independents, share an ice cream cone with somebody who owns, and still listens to, a Creed album.
As the saying goes, "United we stand, divided our sock suspenders fall."
Ryan Jackson would like to announce his candidacy for president in 2016, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.