It's 9:51 on election night. I'm not going to stay and watch the bitter end - I'm rather certain that Obama will win the presidency. I feel rather similar to how I felt when Clinton won the first time. Sad - sad for the country.
I would love for a good, qualified black candidate to be in the White House. I think many white Americans feel the same way - especially Americans in my generation. I call this the "feel good factor." It would make me feel REALLY good to vote for a black candidate; Adam said he felt that way when he (was REALLY young and) voted for Jesse Jackson. He didn't think much of ideology, but the race issue, and the guilty-white-person issue were so strong, that he soothed his soul and his conscience by voting for a black man.
But I won't vote for a man because of the color of his skin; if the whole civil rights movement taught me anything it was that - don't judge a man by his skin. I look at Obama and I see a liberal, a very thorough liberal. A man who aggressively supports abortion. A man with an agenda to move our country toward socialism in its health care system, in its international policies, in its taxation practices. I look at Obama and I see a man with little political experience. Even though he will likely be surrounded by a Democratic house for a couple of years, he will face huge challenges. He will not be able to keep his promises, anymore than other presidents have. His promises of change will largely go unfulfilled.
I look at Obama and I see a man whom crowds support because they desperately want someone to believe in. He has become that man. I'm afraid it is a false hope - a bubble waiting to burst. Americans can be temporary romantics, but after the honeymoon period, they will want practical change. The presidency simply isn't designed to produce that kind of thing. I heard one deranged woman interviewed on TV right after an Obama speech. She actually said that she would not have to worry about her mortgage any more, or about filling her gas tank. Obama would take care of it all for her.
I am not a McCain fan either. This was an election in which neither candidate appealed to me. If anyone had told conservatives 2 years ago that John McCain would be their BIG HOPE, they would have groaned. The man is a centrist. And the Republican party has not done well lately. Bush had 8 years of uphill challenges and many failures: some self-imposed, some not.
But the Republican party could hardly have done a worse job. If they had designed a situation in which to hand the presidency to a Democrat on a silver platter, they could not have done it better. An unpopular war. Huge expenses. Poor communication with the country (as usual). An unpopular incumbent. A dead-pan GOP candidate who has never appealed to their base. And then a financial meltdown at absolutely the worst possible moment.
So, when Obama wins in a landslide, it would be well for both sides to remember that he didn't have much of a challenge to overcome. The Republican opponent was a house that had already fallen from within. And if Obama's candidacy seems like a golden, surreal experience, remember that every light looks bright in such a dark place.
Bed time. It may be a long 4 years, but Rush Limbaugh will be busy again. And I imagine (although I may be wrong) that Republicans will make a comeback in a couple of years in the House/Senate. This nation does not like to give free-rein to any party for very long. It's dangerous.