If you're anxious about the midterm election tomorrow, join the club. A really big club. Because everyone is going to be unhappy with how it turns out.
Well, other than the people who don't care at all about elections and politics. They will be completely happy with the election, because it'll be over and they don't have to put with those annoying campaign ads on TV and lawn signs around the neighborhood.
But the rest of us, no matter our political persuasion, are going to find much to be unhappy about once the election results are known. (No matter what Trump says, it'll take several days, if not weeks, for some key races to be determined; always has been that way; it's a feature, not a bug, of elections.)
Now, the positive flip side is that because politics is a zero-sum game -- for every loser there's a winner, unless a candidate is unopposed -- everybody also will be happy with tomorrow's election, since it's a certainty that Democrats and Republicans will have some big successes and also some big failures.
So the advice I've giving myself, which I'm sharing with you, is to look on the bright side in tomorrow's results as much as we look upon the dark side. I say this because it's easy to focus on one horrendous election result that bums us out to such a degree, everything else that happened seems insignificant.
For liberals like me, Trump being elected president in 2016 was that bummer of a thing. Like so many other Democrats, I had a lot of trouble sleeping on election night after it was clear that Trump had won and Clinton had lost.
The next morning, the waking nightmare resumed. Yet it didn't take all that long before depression turned to anger, a more fruitful emotion. And four years later, us Democrats were thrilled on election night 2020 when Biden won and Trump lost, casting Trump's fans into depression.
Back when I worked in the field of health planning and medical ethics, I became acquainted with research about people's expectations if a dire health problem befell them.
For example, most people would say that if they became a quadriplegic, losing the use of their arms and legs, life wouldn't be worth living. However, when quadriplegics were asked if life was worth living, the majority said "Yes."
A lesson I draw from this is that while it's natural to imagine how you're going to feel if, say, Christine Drazan or Tina Kotek is elected governor of Oregon tomorrow, or if the U.S. Senate either remains in Democratic control or Republicans take over, be prepared to be surprised about how you actually do feel once the whole gamut of election results is known.
Sure, maybe you'll feel even worse than you expected. But my bet is that after a fairly brief period of strong disappointment, you'll realize that both your own personal life and the political life of the entire country isn't as affected by the outcome of certain election results as you thought it would be.
We humans are resilient creatures. We can absorb bad news, have it rattle around in our psyche for a while in a disturbing fashion, then find ways to make the best of the situation. At least, that's my hope for everybody tomorrow.
When my favored football team loses in a disappointing way -- last Friday's Oregon State vs. Washington game comes to mind -- I try to remember that for every sad fan of the losing team, there's a happy fan of the winning team.
The trick for political junkies like me is understanding that after every major election, I'm going to be both a sad fan and a happy fan, since some of my favored candidates and ballot measures are going to win, and some are going to lose.
So soon I'll be looking on the bright side. And also on the dark side. Such is life. And politics.