Election night special

Blue and red. Percentages. Calling a state. Graphics and experts and legends.

Take everything you love about sports coverage. The predictions, the numbers, the human interest stories. The battle of good and evil, of your team and their team, of underdogs and how the standings will shake out when it’s all said and done.

Now apply this to something with real consequence. Like the future of our country’s policies.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Election Night Coverage!

It’s all there. Talking heads, trained to interpret and console, to think logically in the wake of so many decisions. They’re there to make you feel better. They’re Al Michaels or Pat Summerall, prepared to sum up the election in a matter of sentences.

There’s the opinion men and women, the John Maddens, the Tony Kornheisers, all prepared to put a little spin on the whole proceedings. They take the simple facts and turn them into speculation, both preparing us for the possible and reminding us of the excitement – the thrill of the chase.

Stats appeal to those who love concrete details. Candidate parties appeal to those who want to be included. Talk of surprising winners appeals to the underdog-chasers, and tales of real people doing real things touch a nerve in all of us.

This is our process. Our selection. We choose these people to run our country, and in these first few hours after polls close, our optimism (or pessimism, if your candidate is losing) is at its peak. If we win, we’re almost positive that everything will be perfect. If we lose, it might as well be the end of the world.

If you know what’s good for you, you’ve already voted – or at least you’ve made plans to vote. Now, sit back and watch this crazy process unfold. Grab a beer, make predictions – hell, take bets if it makes things more exciting.

You only get to see this kind of spectacle once every four years. Grab your foam fingers and start rooting for your candidate.

Because it’s all downhill from here.

This was lovingly handwritten on November 4th, 2008