I think I can perhaps speak for quite a large percentage of us when I say: Oh, thank God.
I mean, truly. Knees down, palms together, offering a massive wave and slab and magnum champagne bottle full of deep, ferocious gratitude to whatever god, deity or divinely-shaped ball of progressive-soaked energy you choose to offer it up to, we say: thank you, thank you, oh sweet Jesus, thank you.
Oh sweet Jesus, yes
This just in: The pro-choice, pro-women, pro-environment, pro gay-marriage, pro-education, pro-health care-reform black guy who seems to genuinely care about the state of the world and helping as many people as possible even though he’s imperfect and can’t get it right every time, he beat out the hollow, wildly dishonest, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-environment, anti-everything rich guy no one really liked and everyone knew would slam us back a couple generations and a Mormon half.
And lo, it is a good day indeed.
At last, all these weeks and months of liberal hand-wringing can finally cease. The hot bubble of shock and awe that Mitt Romney managed to lie, fake, and bulls–t his way that close to the White House can finally burst and recede into giddy pools of nervous laughter and multiple double shots of whisky. Join me? Hell yes.
But wait, there’s more. Turn your thoughts for a precious, relieved moment to the Supreme Court, to how it will doubtlessly be reshaped in the coming few years by Obama in positive, progressive, intelligent ways that will make Scalia scream, Alito whine and Clarence Thomas look around in numb confusion, same as always.
Glimpse if you will toward the future bogus wars, macho threats, military build-ups and various sabre-rattlings we will now not engage in, thanks to the lack of a hawkish, antagonistic, Bush-like Romney presidency.
Think of the survival of health care reform, the survival of Planned Parenthood funding, the survival of the first president in history to support gay marriage, the survival of any of the 200 campaign promises Obama actually did manage to keep and which will now not be rolled back and trampled to death by old white men who think women can’t be trusted, gays are un-American and rapist babies are just God’s will.
This is the feeling. It’s such a sweet sigh of relief that it’s almost too much to bear. The apocalypse may be nigh, we might very well be racing toward our doom, but at least we are in capable hands for a little while longer.
Perhaps you are not so sure. Perhaps your cynical side is kicking in right now, saying now it will just be a return to ugly business as usual; sure it’s been a year and a half of exhausting, brutal, expensive, absurd campaigning, but now we just go straight back to acidic infighting, congressional stalemates and Wall Street not-so-secretly controlling the whole rigged machine anyway.
Is this you? Are you are one of those who takes the broad, cynical, hyper-fatalist view that it doesn’t matter who’s in the Big Chair, that it’s all the same meta-corruption anyway, that capitalism is the end of humanity and it’s all just suffering and pain and eating the poor for a snack? Fine. You are welcome to that view. And I am more than a little bit sorry for you.
Me, I’m going for the gleam in the eye of the hurricane. Me, I’m aiming toward something like awakened evolution. Me, I take the tone and energy of progress, of intelligence, of shimmering humanity wherever I can find it, and then try to celebrate and cherish the living hell out of it so it can grow and flourish and spread like a disease made of sex and trees and love. Hell, what else you gonna do, whine all day?
Say what you will, but it’s the president who sets the tone for the country, who gives it its complexion and general stance on the world stage. And Obama sets a tone of progressive, thoughtful aptitude and intelligent calm. He’s not always right. He’s been pushed around far too easily by the sneering hatemongers of the right as he seeks consensus when all they want to do is stab him in the hallway. But, oh my God, the alternative.
I am right now recalling the bleakness of the Bush years, this lethal pallor that hung over the country like a fog for eight solid years. I am remembering waking up nearly every day and wincing in pain at some appalling headline, Bush rolling back this or that enviro legislation, approving this or that awful new law, launching useless and costly wars, embarrassing us on the world stage at every turn. And then leaving us with the thrill of the housing/Wall Street meltdown, a modern Great Depression, selling the country’s debt for scrap to Japan and China for pennies on the dollar before sulking off to a bunker in Texas, too embarrassed and humiliated to show his face again.
Bush hated being president. He was miserable, lost, endlessly confused, in way over his head from the start. And Romney would be much the same, only smarter, savvier, a bit nastier when it comes to how best to pillage the Treasury and hasten the fall of the empire.
Barack Obama is none of those things. The only headlines about Obama that ever make me cringe are when he missed an opportunity to do more, or not go far enough. It’s dead right to hold his feet to the fire, criticize obvious mistakes, wish he were less goddamn moderate and conciliatory, and lots more fiery and just a little bit ruthless. But it’s dead wrong to think there’s someone better or more capable right now.
But wait! There’s so much more. Todd “legitimate rape” Akin and Richard “rapist babies” Mourdock both lost, and perfectly so. Somewhere, Ted Kennedy is smiling now that the amazing Elizabeth Warren beat cocky hotshot Scott Brown to lead MA and maybe position herself for a run at 2016, should Hillary decide she prefers hammocks and writing books to running for president.
We now have the first openly gay US senator in Tammy Baldwin, who beat Bush’s crusty old-boy Tommy Thompson with aplomb. Maine and Maryland both voted in support of gay marriage (Washington state might join that one, too), and Maine went to far as to replace one of its Republicans with (gasp) an Independent. Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational pot. And California, well, California just sort of stumbled along, not making many real positive changes (and not repealing the death penalty, sadly), but not making anything much worse, either.
Oh, it’s a fine night indeed. What sort of champagne you got? Share?