Some days it seems like we’re creeping toward a whole new kind of domestic war that will be waged across some metaphorical Mason-Dixon line. Like the last US war of that type, it divides siblings, families, neighbors, coworkers, fellow townies, etc. Like that last conflict (which cost us a sizable portion of our population in dead and wounded, plus more than a century of ill will to follow) it looks as if both sides are already heavily entrenched and not about to change their positions. There are signs aplenty of bunkers & barbed wire.
Like many other Americans, I am old enough to remember blatant racism (the restrooms and water fountains labeled “whites only” in department stores, for example) and thus was incredibly proud that in the recent election a majority of us looked beyond the candidate’s skin color and listened to what he had to say, noted the way he conducted himself and his campaign, and so on. Our new president-elect is a really smart guy, so I have hopes that he’ll assemble the right teams of people to deal with some of the nasty problems facing us now.
A lot of people, though, are pretty farging upset about the results of the election. Some of the more racist (and fascist) among them are flooding the blogs and the right-wing talk radio spectrum with their messages of hate and intolerance. This week a great number of Americans are walking around with this depressed, shell-shocked expression seemingly permanently pasted to their faces. If you mention the election to them, even in very peripheral terms, that facial expression gets progressively more dour.
The vitriol coming from the conservative side this last election was particularly bitter. One can’t help but wonder what portion of it was motivated by their position relative to that metaphorical boundary line described above, or by the fact that the treatment they were meting out was not returned in kind – did they feel dissed not to be called terrorists and socialists by the other side? (no comments necessary on all the socialist moves GWB has made, the huge spending GWB has done, the police state expansion, etc – we all know the story by now)
Unfortunately the conservative party cheerleaders and speechifiers dipped pretty heavily into the negatively-flavored bucked o’ slop when looking for emotional and political sustenance with which to nourish and direct their troops in this past election. And now that the GOP troops have been fed this stuff and whipped up into a frenzy, they’re suffering from a seeming abundance of negative emotions and bad feelings that have got nowhere to go. Maybe it’s too early to tell, but for now it looks as if those folks are having a hard time letting go of the negativity and moving on to better things.
I mention this only because it’s going to take all of us working together to better things here in the US as we wake up from the stupor of GWB’s long reign of error and view the carnage. The past eight years of hyper-laissez-faire deregulation, cutting of taxes on rich folks, excessive deficit spending, opening of large illegal wars on other sovereign nations, steady erosion of civil rights & environmental protections, etc, have not been good to our nation. Fixing this mess (or, if it’s not fixable, limiting the damage as best as we can) is not going to be easy or simple or quick. I am reasonably certain, however, that we will all need to work together on this regardless of our political leanings.
Can we, as a nation overcome this? Here’s to hoping we can :)