Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Confidence Restored

Politics has always been a divisive sport, and elections will bring out the worst in everyone. This year signs were stolen and cars were vandalized. It really is ashame that this country as divided as it is, but I think we made great progress last night.
In my adult life, politics were not always very exciting. I started my voting age life when we were spending taxpayer dollars investigating a blowjob. I don't know about you, but I really don't give a shit about someone else's sex life. That has no impact on anyone's ability to do the job. In my mind, it was a ploy to divide the country to separate the "values voters" conservatives with the rest of the world. The first presidential election separated the red and blue states, with the Supreme Court ruling against a Florida recount, and that brought us George Bush.
There was a moment in Bush's first term when the country WAS united. However it took a national tragedy to unite the country. Just in the aftermath of 9/11 was the only time I could honestly say that I approved of the president's job performance. The honeymoon was over as soon as he used the unity of this country to pursue his political agenda of leading us into two wars. By the time Bush came up for re-election, we did not have the United States of America, but instead had the Red States of America, and the Blue States of America. I fit the stereotype of a member of the latter.
I think much of that divide is gone as of today. Sure you still have the Sarah Palin Republican base, the social conservatives and single-issue (abortion) voters that are in tears right now. But I just hope that they realize that people like me were in the same boat just four years ago. And positions on social issues aside, many of them will be better off economically in an Obama administration. Ironically, some of the people who are such staunch social conservatives are the ones that end up using the forms of government assistance that their party opposes. And with the economy in the toilet, people losing their children daily to an unjust war, and the national debt soaring, many people realized that social issues are not at the top of the priority list right now.
It was not that long ago when people of my generation (who grew up in mostly Republican rule) did not care about politics. In 1996, more people watched the Super Bowl than voted. I was the only one of my friends who voted in 2000, and I voted for a candidate simply because he shared a birthday with me. In a neighboring city, Asbury Park, the turnout in 2000 was 6% jumping to 17% in 2004. Today it was in the 80s, and could be pushing 90. That is impressive.
Everyone I spoke to today when I was campaigning in PA had already voted and were encouraging their friends and family to vote, if not taking them to the polls. We rode in from NJ on the "bus for change" and gathered momentum on the way. Some people joined us from the local Democratic party HQ and others joined us as we were already on the streets. The youngest person to help us out was 6 months old (she was wearing an Obama onesie, she didn't do much but her sister who was about 2 happily waved a sign in the air). The oldest was well beyond retirement age. People joined us on the street corners to wave signs for us. They were black, white, and Hispanic (no Asians though). Young and old, and all had voted or wish they could have voted (due to their age). Everyone was honking their horns at us. For the first time in my adult life, I truly saw what unity was all about.
If the next 4 years is anything like the last 48 hours, my confidence in America is once again restored.

1 comment:

Gent said...

I know you are excited - and I do not blame you. But I suggest you temper it a bit, and try not to expect miracles.

Obama won - but it was not the landslide that you may think. And I would argue that he did not win on his own, but rather, on the majority of people simply voting against Bush.

Obama will have his hands full trying to control an increasingly liberal House & Senate (with virtually no GOP obstacle). Obama's only success, IMO, is to govern towards the Center. I don't know if he can, given how much he is indedted to the far Left, and how Pelosi will pull him to the Left. For that matter, I don't even think he wants to govern from the Center.

But with all that said, I congratulate Obama for an outstanding campaign. And I wish him nothing but the best as he enters office