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Herb Opalek: Post-partum election syndrome

The election has been over for two weeks and many of us have developed that dreaded disease, postpartum election depression.

PPED is a form of clinical depression which can affect women and men after an election. This is a disease that hits both Democrats and Republicans and there is hearsay evidence that independents can also be plagued with PPED.

The symptoms are easy to recognize.

They include but are not limited to sadness, hopelessness, low self-esteem, guilt, sleep disturbances, eating disorders, inability to be comforted, exhaustion, emptiness, inability to enjoy things one previously enjoyed, social withdrawal, low or no energy, becoming easily frustrated, impaired communication in speech and writing, spells of anger toward others and increased anxiety or panic attacks.

What will we do without the multitude of political commercials that interrupted our favorite shows? What will we do with all that spray paint that we purchased to paint over all those Proposition 8 signs? Who are we going to argue with about the efficacy of the various health plans that were proposed?

What can we do if we lived in a "house divided" between Barack Obama and John McCain? Now husbands and wives will have to disagree about such mundane issues as buying new clothes and better hunting and fishing gear.

Without this being the focus of our attention; it leaves us with real fissures in our family unity. After all, elections are just a way to disagree amiably without it meaning anything.

How do we explain to little Susie and her big brother Jerry that "Aunt Hillary" Clinton is not still out there talking about a village and that the village she was talking about was not a play toy for Barbie and Ken.

Perhaps we will have to stop eating those hors d'oeuvres and sipping that nectar at campaign rallies and actually spend time with the kids.

Who will we complain to about our chickens residing in luxury coops and whose tax monies will bear that cost? What about arguing whether our fowl are being treated foul? After all, why should a chicken be treated better than a homeless person?

But seriously, this was a major election with most important consequences for our county, our state, and our nation.

We've had the time to debate the issues and sound off with our opinions. Nov. 4 has passed and it's time to live up to the word "united" in United States. Scripture says it perfectly, "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven."

Now, in the here and now, the time for political name calling, skullduggery and dirty tricks is meant to be a fleeting memory.

Times have indeed been tough.

We still have men and women in harm's way in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The number of foreclosures and families living in the streets grows by the hour. Even people of faith are not trusting in their God and tithing the way they did a year ago.

Stores are empty in Merced and the closing of Mervyns and Linen 'n' Things is imminent.

The public has spoken and our national leadership is about to change. Whether you voted for Obama or not; this is an historic turning point for us all. We have proven that the American dream is not a pipe dream.

Here in Merced, we are about to embark on strengthening our school system by building new schools and lessening the overcrowding. A better taught and educated student body is a vote for America's future.

Our Board of Supervisors is getting a fresh injection from a candidate who promises to partner with the community in order to promote its betterment.

So fight those PPED blues and prayerfully hope for a better tomorrow.

This country has survived two wars that were horrific. The Great Depression did not destroy us and we will recover from this economic malaise. We in this country do have true grit and with God's blessing we will persevere.

Thomas Jefferson put it this way: "A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt ... If the game runs sometimes against us at home, we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."

You cannot cure PPED with organic vitamins, exercise, or even hypnosis. The only cure is uniting behind the decision of the people of these United States for they have spoken at the ballot box. We are one people under God espousing liberty and justice for all.

"My name is Herb Opalek, and I approve of this message."

Herbert A. Opalek is CEO of the Merced County Rescue Mission. He writes a column every other Saturday.