I fell asleep last night thinking about some of the blogs I had read yesterday. Of course I didn’t expect them all to be ecstatic about Obama’s election; after all, almost half the country voted for John McCain.
No, what stuck in my mind was how many of those McCain supporters were expressing fear (their word) over Obama’s election. I was prepared for great disappointment, nasty remarks, accusations of fraud and vote stealing. But fear? We’ve just elected a highly educated, politically savvy, dignified, poised, iron-willed man to the most important office in the free world, and some Americans are reacting with fear?
I tried to equate their concerns to the deep apprehension I felt after George Bush was elected, and then re-elected, but I sense it’s not a valid comparison. I was leery of Bush’s braggadocio, his patrician sense of entitlement, his frat boy image, his lack of intellectualism, his cowboy swagger and mentality, his born-again self-righteousness. It was enough to make me finally bolt the party and vote Democratic for the first time.
Now the shoe’s on the other foot. My candidate won. So are those in the losing camp feeling like I did when Bush was elected? I don’t think so. Obama seems to be the antithesis of Bush: humble beginnings, a scholar and intellectual, confident and strong, cool under fire. On the world stage, he is already meeting with more approval than Bush had. At home, it’s highly unlikely he can make things any worse than they already are.
What I concluded, finally, is that those individuals must fear what McCain and the Republicans told them to fear — blacks, terrorists, youth, funny names, new ideas, and all those “others” — nations and religions and races — that are not US.
And yet, we are all those things.
How ironic, how sad, that while I stand taller and sleep more soundly as a result of this election, my neighbor now shrinks in fear and tosses restlessly. We are, indeed, a deeply divided nation.