As writers, we are watchers of the world around us. We look for the drama and the humor and the human emotion all around us. Watching the election returns last night, it struck me that we could look at the US election cycle every two years as possibly a perfect novel. There's a beginning, a middle, a dramatic climax, and an end. And always the promise of a sequel.
What always amazes me about US elections is 1) How bitter the campaigning is for the months before the elections and 2) How peaceful the moving in and out of elected officials really is in the end.
Americans, never known for their formal manners, get really nasty during an election season. No matter what candidates say about running a positive campaign, TV and Radio commercials run endlessly, and are sometimes as dark and harsh as any sort of edgy movie. Candidates sling vile criticisms at each other, some based in truth and some just flat out lies. Supporters for candidates get into loud arguments in coffee shops and in the office.
Yet, in spite of all the animosity, election night is exciting, but peaceful. There may be accusations of cheating or faulty ballots, but in the end, no one dies, no one gets seriously hurt trying to cast a vote. And, by the time the late news rolls around, the losers concede, the winners make gracious statements, everyone offers to help everyone else during the transition weeks after the election. Neighbors go back to living peacefully side by side. Coffee houses quiet down. Co workers return to peacefully holding the boss as a common enemy. TV and Radio return to the Erectile Dis function commercials as their biggest source of income. All is well in the world.
If these elections were a novel, this would be that final chapter that calms the climax of the story down...and then gives the reader just enough to leave the possibility of a sequel out there.
And that's where we are, my writer friends, we are on the cusp of the sequel, just as we are every two years. One book ends, a new on begins. In spite of all the yelling, in spite of all the accusations and rude talk, this election cycle ends, at least for those of us who aren't anchors on the 24 hour talking head news channels, as peacefully as closing a book.
So, no matter how you feel about the results of the elections, take heart. We have two more years until another dramatic climax. It's a good story, well worth the read.
Besides, now that the elections are over, it's time for the Holiday commercials to begin!