it’s not right to conflate our country with our continent all things considered (canada, mexico, and the countries of central america), but for a while on tuesday evening i felt that there just might be two americas.
after wading through what seemed to be months of vitriol–and although i’d like to be fair by saying it was poured on by both sides–personally i didn’t see it. many of my online republican acquaintances (they could hardly be called ‘friends’ even though that’s what social media wants you to believe, because you’re sharing your lives, you know) seemed to take some glee in their pronouncements of obama’s faults. now to be fair, that glee could have been reinforced by their smiling mug hanging next to their posts, the one photo they believe shows them in their best light, belied to my eyes by their head-in-a-hole belief that what they were being fed by radical right media, grover norquist, carl rove, and the republican machine was the truth.
their anger seemed to me to be misplaced. in fact, even to a casual, non-american observer (much of the rest of the world, for instance) it appeared to be fear. power, after all, is a hard thing to let go of, and for these men and women — the women the hardest part of the republican right for me to understand, what is in it for them, i ask — lashing out in anger is a last stand. so much of what was being touted as “it’s about producing jobs,” “it’s about our standing in the world,” the perceived weaknesses of the obama administration, none of it held up under even the most casual of scrutiny. the truth hurts.
“all politics is local,” said speaker of the house, tip o’neill; the feminist movement of the 1970s said “the personal is political” and those two statements have always been the alpha and omega of my political beliefs. what i saw in this past election season, and for that matter, the last four years of the obama administration, is the demonization of all that is personal and local to me by republicans. i know i am not less than them, that my life is worth as much as anyone standing next to me whether stranger, friend, black, white, gay, straight, woman, man, white collar, blue collar; so i tried hard to look at my all of my ‘friends’ who disagreed with me politically with the same compassion and understanding (without pity in other words) as i hope i do for those i love and know dearly.
it was a challenge, i cannot deny it wasn’t. and on tuesday night i felt there was still two americas, one who accepted me and one who did not. i went to bed before the concession of the right and the victory of the left, hoping that when i woke up we would be one america. i am still hopeful.