I was truly happy at the election results last night. I think that our nation truly has made history, reached a landmark of tolerance, and rejected much of its racist past. This may be the most important part of the 2008 election.
Furthermore, I am confident about foreign policy. No, Barack Obama’s presence will not prevent other countries from acting like jackasses, but whichever way you slice it, America has a new face. Even the tolerant young people of my generation tend, consciously or subconsciously, to “otherize” non whites in a host of (often offensive) ways, and by declaring with our votes that what we had considered “other” we now consider “us,” we also tell the rest of the world that there is hope for their marginalized status. And by electing a man who values common ground so deeply, we have a chance to kick out the neoconservative hawks that have driven us into costly, irrelevant wars once and for all. Hopefully neoconservatism will just go away before 2012; if so, I might remember why I was a conservative for so much of my life (even if I don’t exactly renege my apostasy).
A quick perusal of Facebook will show that I’m a minority voice among my friends. That is, of course, what a democracy is all about — sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But honestly, these status updates are killing me; we’re hearing things like:
X is lamenting the death of a Free America
Y is kissing all of his money goodbye
Z is lamenting the 30 billion babies Obama is going to murder
Q’s cells have been liberated from the Strong Force and have flown apart into the galaxy
W is pissed off and moving to Ireland/Italy/Canada (?) / Europe in general (?????)
Honestly. What? A couple of things I’d like to say: (1) your opponents have had to live through eight years of a decisively neoconservative president, and four of them were dubiously granted him by the Supreme Court. Calm down. It’s someone else’s turn. (2) The loss of your candidate is not the end of democracy. It is, in fact, an inevitable part OF democracy. (3) If you object to Obama because he is a liberal, good luck with the rest of the western world. The United States is dramatically further right than any European country (with the possible exception of Poland). If it’s social conservatism you’re looking for, may I humbly suggest Qatar? Forget gay marriage; you won’t even see ladies shamefully exposing their ankles there. (4) You are not going to lose any money! American leftist fiscal policies do NOT involve “taking everyone’s money” and “giving it to bums.” It involves a graduated income tax, which we already have; increasing the grade will mean — considering that you are all young and probably middle class — that you pay LESS. Okay? Your savings is not going to be raided for the Soviet Common Larder. Honestly, get over these puerile equivalencies between Stalinism and Nancy Pelosi.
Apart from these rather silly accusations, I’m completely aware of good reasons to oppose Barack Obama. Nothing is certain in a democracy; I cast a vote for Bush in 2004 and wish now that I hadn’t. I hope that won’t be true this year. But I hope that the country will set aside its election-season divisions, just a little, and work toward a better reputation and a more just society that leaves nobody out in the cold, either suffering without insurance or dead in a ditch in the Middle East. And I hope that everyone realizes how much more powerful grassroots activity is than the executive branch; so get out there and work for what you believe!