Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Morning Thoughts

Okay, I'm trying to be positive here. I have to admit that it will be fun to have two young children in the White House. And Barack told them, they would be taking a new puppy with them to Washington. I had wondered about that. Families with young children just have to have a pet. It will be interesting to see what kind of dog they choose.

I knew for sure that Obama had it in the bag when Indiana wasn't the first state to be projected as the winner for the Republican. Even though we aren't a solidly red as the media sometimes tries to portray us (we are, after all, notorious for ticket-splitting, and giving the Senate one Senator from each party), we hadn't voted for a Democratic candidate for president since Lyndon Johnson. Most of Obama's voters probably weren't even alive then!

The Democrats will need to be careful. America handed everything to the Republicans - White House, House of Representatives, Senate but the party took that to mean they could get away with anything. Their arrogance and greed was their un-doing. The same thing could happen to the Democrats if they don't accept the gift they've been given with humility. I do think this election was about the yearning for change. I don't think the change yearned for is a swing from crazily conservative to wildly liberal. I don't think Barack Obama thinks this either but many in his party may try to push him in that direction.

I'm willing to sit back and let Barack and his cabinet decide what to do about Iraq but some things need to change quickly. The brother of our receptionist at work has been to Iraq three times. He joined the military right after high school. He's spent most of his adult life so far in a war zone. He knew what being in the military meant and he went to all three tours without complaint but he doesn't want to go again and he shouldn't have to. We are simply asking too much of these soldiers. The sacrifices are too uneven. Nothing from us; everything from them.

The Senate is disgusting. Becoming a Senator if practically a promise of a lifetime job. The game is rigged so that it is almost impossible to lose if you're an incumbent. Race after race showed old bull senators who are just one judge's signature short of being certified cruising to victory. You can be a child molestor, a convicted felon, a drunk....and your Senate seat is probably still safe.

Having said that, Elizabeth Dole went down to defeat in North Carolina. Having stooped to the bottom of the campaign barrel by running an ad calling her opponent "godless", she deserved to lose.

This election is bittersweet for me because, having been a lifetime political junkie, this time I stepped aside (with a nudge from my party) and let the kids take over. It hardly seems fair. Seemed like the World War II generation ran things for decades while us babyboomers basically had Bill Clinton. I don't even consider George W a babyboomer (and he repudidated that label as well). I saw him as a throwback - so we wasted 8 years we could have claimed by electing him twice. As huge and powerful as we've always been considered, we didn't manage to stay in charge very long.

Here is something to file under "ironic things". In the states that had gay marriage initiatives on the ballot, guess what group was most opposed to giving gays full constitutional rights to enjoy the privileges of marriage? Why, that would be African-Americans. They opposed offering gay people those opportunities by a margin of something like 69 percent against to 31 percent in favor. How strange is it that black people are tasting the fruits of victory today and expounding the joys of the ultimate acceptance of an African-American president and yet the very same people are happily willing to discriminate against another minority? Human beings - they make it so easy to despair of them.

By virtue of these election results, America's favorability ratings in the rest of the world are bound to take a huge jump. From what I can tell by reading around the internet, most of the planet thinks we have finally come to our senses and started down a path toward being America again.