Democracy at Work
And, just like that, Election Day has passed! What a relief for all of us. At the end of an election season, you may feel overwhelmed with emotion; we feel excited, relieved and disappointed all at the same time.
As someone who has run multiple campaigns, I can tell you it isn’t easy on candidates when it’s all over. It can be a terrible blow when you lose, but even when you win, there can be a sudden drop in energy. A candidate can feel like they’re racing at 100 miles per hour in the final weeks and, win or lose, the day after the election is like hitting a brick wall. It can feel like everyone and everything has come to a stop and you don’t know what to do with all the energy.
For so many of us, Election Day couldn’t have come soon enough; we want nothing more than to have a respite from politics. Having been hammered for months with ads, mail and calls, election season can be discouraging and exhausting. Receiving election results can be just as stressful. Nobody gets what they wished for 100% of the time – there are both wins and losses among the candidates or ballot initiatives you supported. But what’s important is we have the right to have our voice heard through our vote. This is democracy at work.
We must keep the momentum going after Election Day by holding our elected officials accountable. We can’t forget why we had an election in the first place. We must continue conversations about how we move our nation, state and communities forward.
It’s important to remind successful candidates of the responsibilities to serve everyone, not just those who voted for them. We should expect civility among our elected officials.
The Wisconsin Legislature still has not met or passed legislation for over 200 days. This record is embarrassing and shameful, especially while so many have struggled to meet their daily needs during this pandemic. But every day is a new day, and we have new opportunities to change this course of inaction into action. It starts with elected officials fulfilling promises they made during a grueling campaign season.
Think about what you heard from candidates while they were on the campaign trail. Did you hear a candidate talk about expanding access to high-speed internet service? Then don’t let your legislators forget, because the need continues to grow. Did you hear a candidate say we should fix the unemployment insurance system, so those who need support can get it quicker? Remind them we can make these fixes right now before things get worse.
Did a candidate campaign on supporting our public schools to weather this pandemic? I’m sure most candidates suggested this was a priority for them. We must remind them these are all still top priorities to move Wisconsin forward. Don’t let your elected officials forget.
As we near the end of 2020, COVID-19 remains a major hurdle. Lives are being lost, families are isolated and we are all looking for the end of this crisis. It wasn’t until this pandemic did we realize just how difficult life can be and how important public health is to our society.
COVID-19 turned into a political football this election. Public health is no game. It showed us just how dangerous it can be to trivialize a global pandemic for political purposes. Moving forward, our leaders must take COVID-19 seriously and reach across the aisle to find progress.
As winter nears and the holidays are approaching, families will be staying indoors. We will have to get creative to celebrate the holidays we look forward to all year long without risking the lives of our loved ones. Working together as a community to stop the spread is a perfect way for us to heal wounds left over from a vicious campaign. Let’s care for each other. Let’s learn how to earn a living, pursue an education and govern together during this pandemic so the America we are so proud of can unify as one.