Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Relief


I know that I'm not the only one in America who spent last night jumping around in joy when MSNBC and CNN called Ohio for Obama.  But I also know that from what I saw on Facebook that there were also a large number of people who were disappointed, scared, and angry about the outcome of the election.  I tried to put myself in their shoes while remembering my terror after the 2004 election. I have been comforting myself for the last three months that if Romney won, it would be okay, because I somehow lived through the Bush administrations.  I hope that those folks who are disappointed in the outcome take comfort that they have lived through the first Obama administration.

But I feel relief. Relief that health insurance reform will remain in place. Relief that a politician who is not scared of taxing the rich is in office. Relief that a leader who is calm under pressure will be in charge. Relief that a man who understands that women are more than just vessels for cooking and procreation is in office.  Relief that someone who understands the plight of the majority of Americans, is capable of empathy, and will kick your ass on the basketball court has been reelected.

I also feel concern.  Concern that the tax and spend situation is out of control. Concern that Obama will just be a lame duck who gets nothing accomplished. Concern that the divisive nature of the country will break up friendships and families. Concern that the urban/rural, educated/uneducated, liberal/conservative divides that I witnessed firsthand on my Facebook wall last night are intractable.  Concern that the racist backlash I heard and saw will lead to a de facto segregated political realm.

Was I happy last night? You better believe it.  I would have been happier if loony Michele Bachmann had lost her race, but I was happy the upper midwest did me proud and went blue.

But today I woke up with more mixed feelings.  The political culture in this country is polarized and feels mean and unyielding. I feel tense when I drive through rural Wisconsin and see the racist billboards and Paul Ryan signs. I feel tense when I drive through urban Wisconsin and see the insulting billboards and hipsters who vote unthinkingly because it's the cool thing to do.

I am keeping that pessimism at bay, though, and focusing on the relief and the joy and the vision that the next four years will be filled with the much celebrated hope and change.

2 comments:

  1. Well said. Mind if I plagiarize a chunk of it? Just kidding.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So, so true. The polarization is definitely frightening and saddening.

    ReplyDelete

 
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