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The Aftermath

Election Day Plus One: The Party’s Over

By Merrilyn Astin Tarlton

Remember that time at the airport when you stepped onto the moving walkway to discover it wasn’t … moving … and fell on your face? Well, that’s what today could be like. Whether you spent the wee small hours of this morning at a celebration or a wake, you may need a little help getting going. So let’s get you started with an action item or two for today to help recalibrate your priorities—and a few ideas to lift you out of the post-campaign funk.

It’s Time to Clean Up Your Act

It’s time to get back to your regular life. Take out a pen and go to work checking off this list.

1. Dial it down a notch. Remove that smart-alecky voicemail greeting you created to weed out the robo-callers or to lobby your friends for votes. And resolve—again, but this time for real—to stop sharing political stuff on Facebook and Twitter. If that leaves you at a loss for things to post, try friending Funny or DieLaughing Squid or your local Humane Society. (You know you can delete old posts from Facebook, too, right? You might want to remove that campaign app that has all your data, too.)

2. Ditch the campaign paraphernalia. Pull up the lawn signs, stow away the campaign T-shirts and buttons, and, yes, rip off the bumper stickers. Goo Gone is great for removing the guilty vestiges on sticky bumpers. But what to do with that other stuff? Many lawn signs can be turned inside out and reused for school fundraisers—or you can ditch them in your neighbors’ trash if you want to hide the evidence. T-shirts and buttons will keep nicely next to grandma’s “I like Ike” buttons, your dad’s “Win with the Grin” T-shirts and Megan’s Barbie dolls under the bed. You know you’ll wish you’d saved them if you don’t. And for the really hardcore: Make an appointment with that guy who removed your cousin’s “Trixie Forever” tattoo last year—and resolve to use less indelible means of supporting your candidate next time, okay?

3. Stop yelling at the TV. Or if you must talk back, switch your browser to open at or and yell at other country’s politicians. That doesn’t do the job? There’s always the NFL and NHL to keep you fired up. Or you could channel that adrenaline into the Amazing Race or the new season of Top Chef.

4. Still crave the competitive rush? Why not apply your old campaign strategies to raise funds and recruit volunteers to help those who were in Sandy’s vicious path. No longer does “door to door” have to mean pamphleteering for candidates or issues. Now you’re gathering clothing or organizing a food drive. It’s a great way to reconnect with people while still doing the right thing.

5. Think! If the last ragged couple of months haven’t left you with your own list of things to ponder, try these: Evaluate whether you truly meant it when you said you’d leave the country or your state if “dat bum wins!” and list all the reasons you wouldn’t want to after all. Methodically summarize your “lessons learned” from Election 2012, and compare them with what your friends and family learned, too. Sit down with the kids and talk through their thoughts on the events of the past few months as well. Put into perspective any extreme positions you may have taken and how things will change, or not.

Now it’s time to take a deep cleansing breathe and just let all the campaign craziness go.

Merrilyn Astin Tarlton has been helping lawyers and law firms think differently about the business of practicing law since 1984. She is a co-founder of Attorney at Work. She was a founding member and President of the Legal Marketing Association, Fellow and past President of the College of Law Practice Management and an LMA Hall of Fame inductee. 

Categories: Daily Dispatch, Well-Being
Originally published November 7, 2012
Last updated May 5, 2018
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Merrilyn Astin Tarlton Merrilyn Astin Tarlton

Merrilyn is the author of “Getting Clients: For Lawyers Starting Out or Starting Over.” She has been helping lawyers and law firms think differently about the business of practicing law since 1984. She is a founding member of the Legal Marketing Association, an LMA Hall of Fame inductee, and a past President of the College of Law Practice Management. Merrilyn was a founding partner of Attorney at Work. 

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