Dear Election 2008

By Sujay Kumar

The votes have finally settled and barring the ghost of Dewey, the decision is official. You had your way with the American people and then you left.

In your last days you drained the life out of everyone. Our minds were drowning in politics while we frantically searched for clever stories to write and witty anecdotes to tell. But we were left with nothing.

For nearly 17,521 hours you were touted as the most significant moment of our lives. You were to be the historic day when the world stood still and watched the election of the next leader of the United States. You were the fairy tale that we’d tell our children in the McCain-days of our lives.

Everything built up to Nov. 4. Obama won the Electoral College with a bang, but then you ended with a whimper.

And now, as we sit on the precipice of change and hope in America, we should address the giant blue donkey in the White House: Uhhh, what do we do now?

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The crazy campaigners you bred will likely search to reconstruct some semblance of their former lives. The Obamaniacs can channel their energy into popping champagne bottles, rolling around in confetti and fluffing up their resumes with the phrase, “Barack the vote.”

McCainiacs have some choices, primarily whether they’re going to jump ship from the alleged meltdown of the Republican Party or adopt the “we’ll get ’em next time, John” mantra. But as you know, age isn’t in favor of this idea.

But it’s not the gung-ho, hardcore and sometimes bloodthirsty campaigners who may be lost without you. Instead, it’s those traditionally apathetic youngsters, America’s youth, who with your departure are now politically unemployed.

In the days leading up to your climax, it seemed as though everyone aged 18 to 29 had something to say about politics. These people were keen to announce their opinions of the candidates. Even if it was just to say they mailed in absentee ballots, there was a general consensus that you, Election ’08, were “cool.”

By gauging this interest in the realm of Facebook, it was clear people felt that they cared more about you than everyone else. They opted for judgmental statuses which included, “I voted! Get out there and make your voice heard!” “Vote or don’t complain for the next four years,” “I’m at the Obama Rally” and “Educate yourself on all the issues of this historic election. I did.”

But now that you’ve disappeared, where do we go from here?

Does it make sense to cheer on Obama more now that he’s actually won? Is there some political epiphany we’re waiting for? You promised it, so where’s the change?

Does it matter that our political interest a month, five months, a year or even four years ago was notoriously absent? These questions whether we possess a sincere care for you, or if you’re another fad no different from “The Dark Knight” and Michael Phelps.

We are in the age of the blogosphere where the instant anything happens we hear about it and have the means to let others know our opinions. Does that diminish what you symbolize to this nation?

Will anyone really care about you after Nov. 4?

There aren’t many answers to the questions you’ve brought up. No one said that dealing with you was going to be easy. But for whatever reason, you mattered. Whether we choose to believe that the mobs draped in flags minutes after Obama’s speech are there for the ideal, or for the surefire photo-op, is meaningless.

It’s without question that an air of connectedness, a feeling of awareness that something meaningful has taken place, has transcended political boundaries. It may be a righteous wind at our back, or it may just be that youth apathy finally blowing away.

The campaign for Election 2012 started on Wednesday. At the same time, a new age of youth in politics launched. And for that, we thank you.

Sujay is a senior in biochemistry and thinks the movie needs a giant squid.