As the polls came to a close on the West Coast, there seemed to be a general sense of relief. It’s finally over and your contribution is done. And we all needed a breather in this high stakes game of hope and change, part 2.

Election Day came and went in a rather anti-climactic fashion, though for some there was great victory and others great loss, relatively speaking. But now that we are here after two years of embroiled antagonizing, the vote is done and the winners are becoming clearer on a local level though who actually wins, considering politicians versus voters, remains foggy and will continue for some time.

A radio show host on the 5 O’clock drive home on Election Day referred to things going back to normal for all in about a week no matter who wins. It wasn’t obvious what sort of normal she was referring to because it does really seem to depend on who wins.

That’s the sad aspect of the United States. The only teams really playing can’t win simultaneously and no other teams matter. It’s quite a unique example of winning and losing at the same time, the United States as a whole divided against itself. It’s hard to deny that we are struggling to grow, given stagnation and recession talk, and prospering appears far off for many as we continue to hate and fear what and who we do not respect or care to understand. And that applies in every direction.

Upon reflection, Election Day couldn’t have arrived at a more interesting time, only days from the time change to darkness while still at work, at the start of the holiday season and a wood sculpture representing strength to overcome anything is being crafted in downtown Ventura with the American flag perfectly set in the background. Visiting the polls, however, from Moorpark to Ventura, the majority of the day, there were no real lines to speak of at four of five sites. The government center was the only one to have a bustling about but not really a line, the quiet was a bit unsettling especially considering what so many reported as long lines. Judging by local turnout at that time of day, enthusiasm for Election Day has been reduced to a matter of convenience and perhaps not worth the time off. But Trump did wonders for voter turnout with states such as Florida and Virginia reporting 20-year highs.

By 6:45 p.m. on Election Day, Republicans were holding strong at 45 seats of the U.S. Senate seats and Democrats, 35 seats. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans held 83 seats and Democrats held 77 seats. By morning, Democrats officially took the House but the Senate remained under control of Republicans. And so begins official gridlock in Congress yet again. The two-year ping pong effect of disgruntled and scared citizens trying to level the playing field is right on time. Recall the success of the Tea Party in 2010.

To see that Trump fever has lost its hold in certain states now represented by Democrats must be disappointing for the most ardent Trump supporters but what those people seem to lack in understanding is that ruling by fear and threats can only last so long. But we will see what happens in 2020. We can only hope the nation will truly be able to see more clearly with a candidate who speaks with care and concern for all, not just those who prefer to pick battles with those who have some sort of minority status. And a candidate who speaks to disenfranchised white people who feel like they are becoming irrelevant. We will be watching.

Elections, however, are frustrating no matter which way you look at it because in the end, isn’t the point of being in this country about the pursuit of happiness? And why must it wait or be threatened every two years?

In the meantime, there are ways that we as a community can solve some of societal ills, such as the opioid epidemic and violent thoughts and actions, by working together and being true friends. Nature will always have its advocates. It’s humanity that is flailing.

Once we start to really know each other and extend our hands to help one another, be it projects or picking up things from the store or whatever, the more interconnected we are, the better chance our happiness will not be at stake like this again. We must move from this point forward that we as a country will make the politicians work for us and not the party brand and we can be certain that come Election Day, voters won’t be casting ballots simply for a sense of normalcy.