Viewpoint: The elections are over. Everybody out of the pool!

The election is over, people.

PHWEEET! Everybody out of the pool!

Go wash the chlorine out of your hair, towel yourselves off, deflate the pool toys for easier storage, and drive home with your families.

It’s time to get back to normal — normal, of course, being the word we use to describe the regular craziness of everyday American life — and start treating all those people we disagree with like people again.

You see, hanging out in the pool of elections can be a wild, fun time. You’re playing chicken with your co-workers over which candidate’s foreign policy sounds more respectable. You pull a cannonball and splash all over your neighbors with your knowledge of Second Amendment legislation. You might even try to dunk some family members who can’t seem to get over the effects of the Obama/Bush/Clinton/Bush/Reagan/Carter/Taft administration.

And that’s OK. It happens to all of us. Election season takes a whole, diverse community and throws them over the side into the shallow end, all together, elbow to elbow, where cryptosporidium and dirty diapers and used Band-Aids are all floating around, and a few people are bound to get upset and start splashing each other in the eyes.

But the sun’s going down, folks, and the lifeguards need to get home and do their chemistry homework, and the kids are all red-eyed and exhausted, and nobody wants to play another round of Marco Polo (because half the people who play cheat and get out of the pool and run to the other side anyway).

It doesn’t matter who won in the presidential or other races (note: this viewpoint was written before the results came in Tuesday night, because, again, it doesn’t matter who won the elections) — well, OK, it might matter a little bit, which is why we have the elections. But the candidates who won? They won. And the ones who lost, well, lost. And unless we’re going through a repeat of Floridagate 2000 (Bush vs. Gore), the country knows the direction in which it’s headed for the next four years.

Well, technically, three years, since there’s always another election year.

But the results are in, and that’s it. The world (and, more importantly, the country) is not going to be consumed by fire in the next four years, just like it wasn’t during the last four years, which were, economically speaking, the toughest four years this country has had for a long while. Things are looking up.

And we all need to accept the things we can’t change and deal with our issues appropriately. So, here’s what we’re all going to do:

  1. We’re going to stop posting smug things on Facebook and go back to vapidly talking about ourselves.
  2. We’re not going to gloat for more than a day if our candidates won.
  3. We’re not going to pout for more than a day if our candidates lost.
  4. We’re going to pledge our support to the people who did win, even if we disagree with them, because that’s part of living in a free country.
  5. We’re going to teach our children the value of losing/winning graciously, supporting elected officials, and waiting a few more years to vote again if we happen to disagree with the results this time around.

If you’re upset, that’s fine. Be upset. If you’re happy, that’s great. Be happy. The important thing is that we, as a nation, were able to vote — a blessing we frequently refuse to acknowledge, just because we might disagree with the results — and the candidates who had more support will now help guide this country in the direction it (hopefully) needs to go.

And if they don’t, that’s fine, because in a small amount of time, we’ll all put our goggles and floaties back on, buy a new suit that’s a little more form-flattering, and hop back in the pool.