Sorry, We're Closed

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Another Page


The doorway is open...


Here stands history, waiting for us to catch up.

I haven't written since the election.

Which me would show up here? Would the pissed-off version of me, still not okay with what I saw as unforgivable tactics from the Republicans, gloat in victory? Or could I let that passion wear off?

Things are better now. I feel, mostly, a sense of relief that the whole process is over.

This was a painful and emotional election campaign, and despite Obama's monumental victory, which came with an uncommonly wide margin both in popular and electoral votes, we still live in a bitterly divided country.

Optimistic as I am about President-Elect Barack Obama--and it still feels nice to type that--I am also conscious that this isn't an overwhelming victory for the left.

Look at how much went wrong on Election Day. Creepy, discriminatory anti-gay marriage propositions passed in three states. Republican senator Ted Stevens, convicted on seven felony counts by a federal grand jury, may win re-election in Alaska. Al Franken, one of the more progressive people running for Senate, is hoping to win by recount after garnering fewer than 45% of Minnesota's popular vote in the election. Darcy Burner, running for Congress in a swing district in Washington that went 60% for Obama, lost another close race to Dave Reichert.

It seems to me that Obama's overwhelming victory came because he was seen as a moderate option to the failed policies of the Bush era, which, like it or not, stuck like Superglue to John McCain. That so many people were able to get past prejudice and vote for a black man is great; that so many people were not is pathetic.

Remember the "Reagan Democrats" that pushed old Ron-Ron into office for two terms in the 1980s? People were sick of the perceived weakness of Jimmy Carter--who, as it turns out, has been perhaps the greatest ex-president we've ever had--and were glad to cross party lines and vote for someone they felt at least to be likable. (Some of my best friends voted for Reagan, at least in 1980. I don't pretend to understand it.)

We can similarly define "Obama Republicans" as people who would have voted for a reasonable candidate from the right had one been available. Including Sarah Palin on the ticket proved a polarizing choice, and I think that even if it energized the conservative base of the Republican party, the furor around Ms. Palin distracted John McCain's message from getting through. Not that his message was clear or well-expressed anyway.

So while I'm glad that Obama is our president--very glad--I am also conscious that the next four years are going to be full of anger, mistrust, lies, and outright racism from some of the 57 million people who voted for John McCain.

What the rest of us need to do is respond not with barbs but with strength and vision. It's our chance now. We hoped for this opportunity, so now we have to lead.

The first thing I'm doing is really trying to think of new ways to save energy around our place. My 12-year-old nephew reminded me last week that when you're away for a period of time, you should pull plugs from their outlets to save energy. It's not a big step, but it's a step. What ideas do you have to help make change on a daily basis?

The song I chose for this post is one of my all-time favorites, and applies to how I feel about America. Big Star's first album, #1 Record, is full of great acoustic songs, and "Give Me Another Chance" hits home every time I consider my own anger and the human capacity for forgiveness. It's one of the few songs that can make me tear up every time I hear it.

I want another chance. Let's fix America.

8 Comments:

Blogger Winona said...

I was checking here daily to see your response to last week's goings-on... and I'd have to say I agree 100%. While Obama's election is of course history-making and wonderful, I wait to see what actually he can *do*. And I am sorely disappointed especially in California, and their passage of discriminatory acts.

6:46 AM, November 10, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If my input is welcome, then I will give it. I'm a tired, old Democrat who is totally spent after this election, and I didn't even vote. I've been jumping from blog to blog as this medium is still new to me. Your piece "Another Page" is very thoughtful.
I probably don't belong on this page as I've been mildly attacked on many others.
I feel defeated by the "Democrats" and the media. I was never going to vote for McCain, although I did find his exit plan on Iraq, as being the most well thought out and realistic. Obama was someone I did not know of at the beginning and figured it my duty to find out about him. Needless to say, the mezmerized crowds and media fawning didn't help me to form any cogent opinion of the man. I had to research hard and long to find "factual" info on him. Most of what I found was unimpressive and often disturbing. There's nothing tangible in the man's background that even mildly supports anything he says he stands for.
Words like "Communist", "Marxist", and sometimes "Socialist" still have strong meaning to my generation. Obama, whether he strongly adheres to any of these parties is really not clear. He's had many mentors, teachers, and associations who subscribe to these philosophies and some with very anti-American stands. This is very valid and I don't understand why so many of the Obama supporters continuouly lable those who didn't choose him as "racist." That is out of line. The only people I heard bringing up race again and again were the Obama campaign and many of his supporters.
The man declares he wants a "transparent government." But this is hard to swallow when he won't release ANY of his college records, meetings records, clients records, and the very important birth certificate. He does NOT have my trust, along with the 57 million others, for probably those reasons more than his color. He was never properly questioned about his associations and never properly answered any that did come up. And please, stop calling him "black" when indeed, he is of mixed background.
All these years, I believed in the ideologies of a democracy. But, this election was already decided before it began (look up F.A.R.C.). The media called it when the electoral was at 207-147. Obama kicked three major papers off his plane who didn't endorse him. His campaign ravaged a private citizen for simply asking a very excellent question. He ignored Fox News at his "press conference." I don't love Sean Hannity, but this media tilt only adds to a distrusting environment. I knew I was not going to vote. I sure wanted to...but not in this type of political climate that is mooning both true democracy and the Constitution, the real, solid building blocks of this country.

1:49 PM, November 10, 2008

 
Blogger Stuart Shea said...

Thanks for checking in, although I generally don't respond to anonymous comments.

I'm sorry that as a "tired old Democrat" you feel "defeated" by the Democrats and the media. You are apparently not the only one, although I don't understand what you mean.

Your notion that the election was "decided" by the media is ridiculous. I assume that you recall that the AP called the 1980 election for Ronald Reagan WHEN POLLS WERE STILL OPEN ON THE WEST COAST. At least the networks now wait until the polls were shut to call the election.

On to Obama himself. First of all, he IS black by any legal or governmental standard of the word. I don't really understand your point here.

Everything you're saying that Obama did "wrong"--not releasing his records, kicking people off his plane, having messianic crowds--is something that John McCain did as well.

Where are McCain's health records? Where are Palin's? I personally think that all records should be released by both sides, but this, unfortunately, is the way the game is played. I do have much more concern with McCain's health records than Obama's for obvious reasons.

You seem to be okay with giving Obama grief for his "past associations," but at the same time you say you don't know anything about him.

I assume that you were unable to find anything to read about him, although there have been books and many articles available on him for years. Instead, you addressed this seeming vacuum of information by going to sources you were comfortable with--I'm not assuming it's Fox News--to get those gaps filled in. But they were filled in incorrectly.

Terms like "socialist" and "Communist" mean a lot to my generation too, especially when they're tossed around lightly by careless, cynical commentators and party flacks who should know better. Show me the EVIDENCE that he is a Communist, or even a socialist. Don't twist what he says into what you think he means, because you'd be wrong. Barack Obama is a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist who believes in equal opportunity.

You refer to the terrible injustice done to Joe the Plumber. He's a private citizen and got to ask his question. He had his time in the sun. His credibility was undone by his own shoddy backstory (he doesn't really have a business; he'd do better taxwise under Obama's plan; he doesn't think that anyone deserves to be on welfare but him).

I don't understand why you think this bozo was done any kind of disservice. He's an ignorant race-baiting hypocrite.

Finally, perhaps you can gain some peace from that fact that even if YOU personally don't think we have a great democracy anymore, over 122 million people voted--the highest popular vote total in the history of the country.

Thanks for writing.

2:46 PM, November 10, 2008

 
Blogger YourFriendFrank said...

Stu, I loved your "Give Me Another Chance" comment.

Recently I've been thinking that if I were ever part of a CD release it should be called "We Need More Time". Did a web search and can't find one by that name. Why the heck not?

An open invite for people to savage it, but that's half the fun.

11:34 AM, November 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Amy said...

So while I'm glad that Obama is our president--very glad--I am also conscious that the next four years are going to be full of anger, mistrust, lies, and outright racism from some of the 57million people who voted for John McCain.

The racism is what scares me.
I'm also deeply saddened that it's still so pervasive in the 21st century. How can we, Americans come together to fix what's wrong in this country if we're still afraid of each other?

I could not imagine living in a country without ethnic/racial diversity, without the chance to have friends of different ethnic bakgrounds.

It also makes me feel really sad to see so much religious polarization. Again, how are we going to be able to come together as a nation if someone from the "other side" looks down on me as someone who is (evil) because I believe in freedom of choice?

I have a friend who is very conservative. She sent out some of those anti-Obama spam emails. She is a very sweet person, has a good heart, but is very prone to the politics of fear. When she and I talk about politics or social issues, we try to find common ground, and I sometimes find myself saying "I am going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this" and we move on to other topics. For example, we can agree on the idea that it is the responsibility of Parents to impart a moral code, beliefs, upon their children. Public school is not the place for this. We strongly disagree on the rights of married same-sex couples to adopt children. I of course, think there's absolutely nothing wrong with the idea (and she disagrees). Boy, we really debated that issue too - but it came down to her religious beliefs about same-sex relationships and there was not going to be any wiggle room on that topic.

What the rest of us need to do is respond not with barbs but with strength and vision. It's our chance now. We hoped for this opportunity, so now we have to lead.

As with my friend Denise, I work to find middle ground with those of different beliefs. Some are from Libertarian friends, some are from Republican friends. I actively think to myself - how would I feel if I were attacked for what I believe in? It's like attacking someone for their taste in music, or choice of clothing. It's an opinion - everyone is entitled to theirs.

To quote Frank Zappa "do what you want, do what you will, just don't mess up your neighbor's thrill".

This is what I am working towards these days, and in the new year.

The first thing I'm doing is really trying to think of new ways to save energy around our place. My 12-year-old nephew reminded me last week that when you're away for a period of time, you should pull plugs from their outlets to save energy. It's not a big step, but it's a step. What ideas do you have to help make change on a daily basis?

My boyfriend Jay is always walking around the apartment turning off lights. He has this thing called an "eco button" on his computer that if he hits it,sends his computer into sleep mode to save power. I just have to shut my computer off. We use CF lights in most of the fixtures in the apartment.

We live within 2 miles of work, and carpool so we save a lot of gasoline there (despite having to rely on oil for our heat). If bicycles were not so damned expensive we would be biking to work in the nice weather (next year!!)

As the old saying goes, we can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Finally, a President who is OUR age. OUR generation. We have a responsibility now to be representative to other Americans as well as to the world that we really can get our act together and be the kind of country that other nations look up to.

More tolerance.
More forgiveness.
More peace.

12:22 PM, November 11, 2008

 
Blogger Derek See said...

Spoken like a true gentleman, and with a beautiful song to match. Thanks for these words, Stu. Perhaps more people will face their racism and change their minds with Barack as president.

3:34 PM, November 11, 2008

 
Anonymous LibertyBelle said...

There's some REALLY cool music on this blog. I was brousing and read this and just felt I wanted to comment.
I really like "Amy's" post. I like that you interact with both (for lack of a better word)sides. I cannot classify myself as either a Dem. or Repub. I wanted Hillary this year. Most of my friends wanted Obama. I did not. I have my reasons for being turned off, but won't bother to go into them b/c no matter what I say, people I've come into contact with just give that weird look and I feel they already labled me as racist. I didn't vote. I told some people that I did vote for Obama b/c it was easier than listening to them get so angry and defensive. This has been my situation and I'm very, very angry about it. The party system DOES divide people, but just b/c a candidate runs on a certain ticket, it doesn't mean that you will necessarily like that person. I really believe that most people just want to do their jobs, work for what they want,and be good neighbors. I don't think that government helps or hinders this. It's really the math. There's a huge population and I don't think at any one time everyone will be on the same page. I think that's good...even in voting. Just my two-cents. Thankyou.

9:56 PM, November 11, 2008

 
Anonymous Jonathan said...

For previously stated reasons, I can't join the euphoria. As I broadly support progressive causes and loathe the damage Dubya did to the Constitution and the rule of law, Obama was an easy choice. But I won't sing the praises for someone who has had so much political capital and used it (or more correctly, didn't use it) so cynically. Gays got a good taste of his m.o. when he refused to cut a promo against Proposition 8 late in the campaign and then watched it pass by a narrow margin with strong African-American support. At the time his supporters said, as they always did, "the ends will justify the means." Maybe. Maybe Obama will tell the baby boomers that they will have to pay for the mistakes of their generation rather than rob Americans yet to be born in order to ease their suffering. Maybe he will revert to his original positon on genocide and prove that he doesn't treat African lives as sub-human (with the exception of Kenya). Maybe he'll truly fight corruption by taking actions like re-appointing Patrick Fitzgerald, block attempts to ban secret ballots in union elections, and not follow-through on his campaign talk to suspend federal monitoring of the Teamsters (an early supporter in the Dem primaries). But whatever he and the Dem Congress plan on doing, they need to do it quicly, because it will take exactly one well placed shopping mall bomb this Christmas to up-end his entire "honeymoon" agenda.

Save the World suggestion: OK, this is kinda gross, but it can make an impact and isn't that hard if you live by yourself (let alone you don't have many guests). Um, er, if you can save one flush per day... http://www.alternet.org/water/91647/why_i_don't_flush/

12:15 PM, November 17, 2008

 

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