The Hilarious Online Reactions To Oklahoma’s Election Results
Watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is one of the few "normal" holiday traditions my household usually enjoys this time of year. A classic and wholesome tale of good feelings. It's a yearly reminder of a simpler time, but I'd like to reference a specific moment in that short film.
You know how Lucy always manages to convince Charlie that she'll hold the football, but then pulls it away as he kicks at it, leading to him falling down and wondering "How could this be happening again?" That's what Oklahoma Reddit's reaction is every time there's a big election.
If you don't know what Reddit is, here's a quick rundown... it's a place for people that couldn't share toys when they were kids. The stubborn type of adults that can't accept the fact that most people share differing opinions. If you don't conform and toe the line for hollow feels and splay your false bleeding heart for upvotes, you'll generally get bullied into banished oblivion. It's a truly depressing place to lurk.
Did somebody say something that contradicts your emotional belief? Downvote. Did another offer solace in agreement with your emotional belief? Upvote.... on and on and on.
Like all social media, Oklahomas Reddit has become an online refuge of one way of thinking, mostly populated by left-leaning Okies. That's not to say there isn't also a Reddit page for right-leaning Okies, the internet is big enough for everyone... but r/Oklahoma is a safe space where the bluest of us all can congregate anonymously in order to bask in each others virtually identical online identities.
Honestly, it's really no different than your grandma's Facebook page, just with a different political belief driving it. If anything, r/Oklahoma's reaction to our elections proved just how much the average person lacks real diversity in their social life. The like/dislike/upvote/downvote/hide/ban/unfollow/etc buttons have made it far too easy to only surround ourselves in a safe space bubble of like opinions, and that has killed polite discourse in human communication.
If you've read my rare political ramblings before, you know I'm solidly right up the middle. My blue friends think I'm super-red and my red friends think I'm a bleeding-heart liberal, but on the fence, here I sit perched ready to swing one way or the other.
I'd even wager that while we spend time identifying as red or blue, a majority of people are moderately purple like me. In fact, while Oklahoma's always labeled as the "reddest state," we just talked about how it's (practically) 50/50 in this state, but it generally leans red by the time the polls close. So why would anybody be shocked when Oklahoma votes for red candidates?
It's that safe space of a bubble people live in online.
As people watched the election results pour in, it was clear Governor Stitt would remain in office to the horror of those who were convinced Joy Hoffmeister would unseat him. While that sounds just as unlikely as it turned out to be, it was a shock to a small population of people that have fed their souls on an unending cycle of similar opinions for the last few years, putting all of their efforts into obliterating anyone with a different belief.
Of course, instead of accepting the simple fact that voter turnout was less than stellar and less than half of eligible Oklahoma voters decided one candidate was worth more than another, it was the temper tantrums we've become accustomed to since 2016.
People are literally in disbelief that a state that has leaned barely majority red for the last twenty-five years opted once again for red candidates... because they've surrounded themselves with nothing but blue ideology for the last (insert measure of time here).
As if the classic temper tantrums weren't enough, old reliable "taking my ball and going home" reared its ugly head too.
Tons of comments across the state-loathing threads were people copy/pasting the old "I'm leaving" hyperbole... but wait, we've seen this before. They'll be angry now, but odds are they won't leave.
Even more ironic, if someone does leave because their chosen candidate didn't win, they're only perpetuating the exact problem they perceive this state even further instead of keeping calm and carrying on trying to win hearts and minds for their chosen political party.
To be fair, if things went the complete opposite way and it was the other party crying and throwing temper tantrums, it would be equally as pathetically hilarious in my moderate mind...
So what's the lesson to takeaway from this traumatic experience? Perhaps it's time to open up your circle of friends to meaningful diversity.
Americans of different political parties, faiths, backgrounds, etc... got along just fine for over two hundred years. That's not to say elections weren't scorched earth and savage before, but in a time before infotainment news and social media that let you pick and choose to only see one side of a complex equation, Americans were able to have a polite conversation with someone that disagreed.
Politicians reached across the aisle to compromise on legislation. People didn't resort to name-calling to somehow justify opinions. People were polite, but we aren't anymore.
If things didn't go your way, don't take your ball and go home. Grow a little gumption and accept the results. In the future, put your money where your principals are. Talk to your opposition instead of basking in a pool of thought reinforcement. You'll probably learn as much as you preach.