Okay, so the election’s finished, and not quite to my liking. Clearly I was a bit too quick to book the Washington, D.C. Hilton for my inauguration party, and don’t even get me started on how expensive it was to hire the Beach Boys. I shall unpack my car, break the news to the kids, and start writing columns that will hopefully be less about politics and more about funny.
What a weird and memorable campaign season it was. Memorable, even for those of us who’d just as soon not remember it.
This time last year Hillary Clinton was bringing out her old measurements of the White House windows, preparing to hang new curtains as soon as she moved in. John McCain was carrying his own bags onto commuter flights, continuing a lonely and hopeless fight in middle-of-the-country states that people on the Coasts aren’t convinced even exist during the off-season. Joe Biden was just another Presidential candidate, who’d developed the remarkable ability to walk with one foot in his mouth. Sarah Palin was … well, nobody knows what she was doing back then, not even most people in Alaska.
And now Barrack Obama is going to President of these United States. Imagine that. Do you realize it’s only been a handful of decades since some of his family couldn’t vote at all, let alone run for office?
Meanwhile, over on the other side, was Sarah Palin, who was hated more for her
conservative views than for the fact that she’s a woman.
This is one great country.
I’m serious. Even though Obama would have been third in line of candidates I would have voted for (early results show I carried part of a neighborhood in one county in Michigan, and one precinct in England), the fact that he could even be considered a contender is a great thing. McCain is going to fade back into Congress. Palin is going to disappear, back to Alaska and her family and her caribou. Biden will be there in the background, his occasional gaffs smoothed over by a sympathetic media. Me? I’m going to write books, get rich, and move to Hawaii.
But Obama made history.
Don’t get me wrong: I remain fearful he’ll advance a socialist agenda (which isn’t a bad thing, if you’re a socialist), weaken our defenses, and support tax and spend policies that will hurt the economy even more than it’s already hurting. I have a litany of concerns, including the whole experience thing.
But hey, maybe he’ll do okay. I’ve been wrong before – we all have. After all, two of the most unpopular Presidents were Harry Truman and Abraham Lincoln, and once sifted through the prism of history it turns out they did okay. I have a feeling history will go a little easier on G.W. Bush too, once everything’s sorted out, but who knows? Calling a sitting President “best” or “worst” is like predicting the stock market, and we all know how well that turns out.
But you have to stand in wonder at the pure history of this moment. Some people will argue that Obama is only half black, but so what? He’s still our first black President. Not a big deal? Read your history.
The forging of our nation was almost derailed, all the way back in 1776, over the issue of slavery. We fought a war to free black people, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans. For decades after that black people were still considered secondhand citizens. They had to fight for equal rights in where they lived and went to school, what jobs they could have, and even the right to use the same drinking fountain. So the USA isn’t perfect -- what country is? But man, how far we’ve come.
So you Republicans and moderates, perk up. And while we’re on the subject, I’d like to thank and congratulate you. I’ve always been a news junkie, and I think I paid more attention to this election than any other in my life – and yet, during the entire thing, the only people who I ever heard bring up the issue of race were Democrats and the news media.
Surely there are plenty of idiot racists who hate Obama just because of his color, just as some hate Palin just because she was women. It’s a free country: You can’t rid it of morons. But for the average person -- the guy who wants a chance to get ahead in life, pay his bills, and keep his family safe -- there just wasn’t a sense that race was an issue. Lots of people voted against Obama, and I never met one who cared abut his skin color.
Fifty years ago it would have been a far different thing, with open racism across the country; maybe thirty years ago. The sense I got this time around was that there were too many important issues to worry about something as inconsequential as that.
I guess what I’m saying is, it’s not so bad. As usual, the party that’s out of power will act as a watch dog, while the centrist majority again waits for someone to be their champion. The economy will be bad for awhile, as it would have been regardless of who won. We’ll continue to face challenges, domestically and abroad. There’ll be hurricanes, and wars, and scandals. Life will go on.
My advice is to disagree with President Obama when you feel he’s wrong, but support him. Pray for him, if you’re the praying type. The man’s facing a mountain of challenges, and nobody should be hoping for him to fail – if he fails, the world suffers for it. Let’s bring back not only hope, but the willingness to work at making America great again.
It’ll be okay.
And if it isn’t, I’ll be there in 2012.
Now, I know what you're thinking. But a deadline is a deadline; I usually send my column in on Friday, but the absolute final deadline is Monday, so I had to make a call. If I'm right, I'll be the first one in the media to call it, and I'll also win a twenty dollar bet. If I'm wrong, my guy will win ... well, my guy of the two who are running. Or, best case scenerio, I'll be loading up the truck and moving to Washington.