Last night Canadians elected a majority Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
I spent most of the day leading up to that vote working for a Conservative candidate, including several hours as a scrutineer at one of the local polling stations.
After the count and the parties were over, I came home and switched on Twitter and Facebook to catch up on what I'd missed from my friends and associates. And what I found online was far, far removed from what I'd experienced all day.
There were people ranting about the results, threatening to leave the country before they were carted off to re-education camps. Others predicted the end of universal health care and an open season on abortion clinics. Others bemoaned the low 60% voter turnout, the alienation of Youth and the ignorance of various and sundry for choosing the MPs they chose.
For the most part, they aped the political panels and pundits and pollsters who have dominated our media for the last five weeks, preaching doom, building partisan niches and otherwise clawing through the entrails of what Canadians must feel in their guts.
In the end, it turned out most of those opinions were more than a little off the mark. But that didn't matter, the need to demonize and/or have a tantrum because you didn't get your way took precedence.
Among the most prominent in the Twitterverse was filmmaker and activist Michael Moore, a guy I greatly admire no matter how much we may disagree from time to time.
It was all I could do not to go all George C. Scott in the opening desert battle scenes of "Patton" on Mr. Moore's prestigious behind and scream, "You sonovabitch, I read your book!".
Because in the opening chapters of "Stupid White Men", Michael Moore tells you everything you need to know about running and winning a political campaign.
And if you want my opinion, that's all that happened yesterday.
You win elections by listening to people, by responding to what are legitimate needs and by proving that you'll do what you said you would do.
Many may not like what the minority Conservative government did over the last few years. But there was no hidden agenda. They were clear about what they stood for and they did exactly what they said they were going to do.
In 2008, I worked for my local candidate in Newmarket-Aurora, Lois Brown. Lois is one of the nicest people you could meet. Smart, funny and hard working. But even her own party didn't think she had much of a chance.
Yet she won by 6,000 votes. And after two years of continuing to work hard, she increased her vote last night to win by 18,000 votes. That doesn't happen unless people come to realize the person they're interacting with is not what the chattering classes would prefer they believe.
For all the social media whining about voter turnout, the polling station where I worked yesterday registered 300 new voters. And that's 10 polls in a riding with more than 250. Many of those choosing to exercise their franchise for the first time were young, encouraged to become engaged by Rick Mercer, social media and vote mobs.
A lot of them eyed me cautiously, wondering what a guy wearing a Conservative badge was doing hanging around as they signed up. They clearly weren't going to vote for my guy. I was the enemy.
In fact, late in the day, as I stood in the parking lot making some calls, a group of them came out of the poll and walked past.
"Hey guys," I said, "Thanks for voting."
"Don't look so happy!" One of them said, "None of us voted for you fucks!"
I shrugged. "Why would I have a problem with you voting for what's in your own best interest." I replied, "I'm not a socialist."
One of his buddies chuckled and glanced back at me thoughtfully as they left.
Next time out, I'm thinking he might actually give his vote a little more thought.
The candidate I was working for lost last night. To be frank, he deserved to lose. Working for him wasn't my idea. Somebody else thought he could use my help and sometimes Life renders you without choice. You get assigned to the Russian Front or to write an episode of "Little Mosque on the Prairie". All you can do is suck it up and do your best.
But he lost because like so many he was less concerned with the people he was being elected to serve than by the process of making the right impression and following the media scenario. The young don't vote. Everybody knows my opponent is a joke. Old ladies in retirement homes have been carrying me for years. They won't change now.
He was wrong.
You win elections by engaging people and you keep the job by proving yourself to them. Meanwhile, the chattering classes are mostly concerned with chatter.
I don't take a lot of the venom spewed against Stephen Harper and those who chose not to vote seriously. Most in my Twitter feed come from the Toronto Arts Community where few will stand up for their own industry let alone actually get out and engage potential voters or advocate in favor of mandatory voting or to abolish the "first past the post" system.
No matter what I say or do, their chattering will continue -- until they too finally decide to put their own skin in the game.
But if any of them have read this far, and before they get back to tweeting and updating their facebook status, I hope they take a moment to listen to what their Prime Minister actually said last night -- understanding that he doesn't really have to care what they think of him for the next few years. He doesn't need to hope he can make them like him anymore. He's done with currying favor.
But unlike them, he hasn't given up on trying…