Image from flickr.comIn the wake of the Obama victory the far right is really reeling in pain right about now. They feel that The USA has been played for the fool. The fear that terrorism, Satan and Karl Marx have jointly achieved a large victory.
On Tuesday The United States of America rejected fear, divisiveness, prejudice, and the status-quo. There seems to be a recognition by most that the time is now for our country to move forward in making important decisions that will determine our place in an increasingly globalized world. There is little doubt that our international stance is slipping fast (Bush openly rejected raising our stance in the international world in the 2004 debates) and that our current policies will only make it worse.
So in light of the major victory that we have gained by electing Obama it is easy to criticise and attack those who are scared by this new presidency. I think I may be able to relate to what they are going through.
In 1999 when Bush won I was shocked. This man had failure written all over him. Aside from his many failed attempts as a business man, he put a higher value on nationalism than patriotism. This guy represented the many kids I despised in grade school. He came off as an arrogant bully that thought that not only where his values and culture better than everyone else's, but that action needed to be taken to demoralize those who where not like him.
So when he was put in the oval office I was devastated. I could not imagine a worse person to lead our country. This was a rejection of all my values. How could my country be so stupid? It was inconceivable.
It turned out that Bush was much worse than I thought. I thought he would be bad, but I just didn't fully comprehend the scale of destruction he would institute. Torture, false wars, economic failure edging on the scale of the great depression, illegal domestic spying followed up by retroactive immunity, the destruction of the constitution, "with us or against us" politics, abortion rates go from declining to stagnating, etc. I just thought his policies would fail, I didn't realise they would destroy.
So now we have Obama and the religious conservatives are beside themselves in national disappointment. If Michelle Obama is proud of her country for the first time, they are disappointed in their country for the first time.
The USA didn't just reject Bush, the accepted a man who's pastor said "Goddamn America!" His wife was only recently proud of our country "for the first time." He sat on a board with a man who blew up domestic building in the sixties. His name is not "American." He is an advocate for the "Pro-Choice" movement. He wants to "spread the wealth around." Worst, he may be a Muslim in disguise, might not say the Pledge of Allegiance, and is probably being guided by Satan. He belongs culturally to the humanist atheists.
This is what the religious right is having a problem with. They don't see politics and people as nuanced. Sure, life has its curve balls, but problems are as easy as using as what they see as God's way to solve them. You do what you are suppose to and then you pray that the rest is just sorted out on its own.
The religious right will not do a self examination because they don't believe they where ever wrong. Sure, Bush had his problems, but overall he was pushing us in the right direction. He appointed two judges to the Supreme Court that bring us closer to overturning Roe V. Wade. The war in Iraq may have been mismanaged, but the ideal of bringing American (i.e. Christian) values to them with a gun and bomb was the right choice, even if the execution was less than stellar. They see this as God's country, and any efforts to build a pluralistic, inclusive society are dangerous. They don't see what good there is in compromising with the Pagan east.
For them these values are good, have been good, and always will be good. The see the last eight years as being great spiritually. They do not view the problems we face as being necessarily Bush's fault, and those that are do not trump the issue of abortion or unifying inclusion of those that do not agree with us.
Having had their values rejected is hurtful. Of course they are angry and baffled. I have been there too. My only hope is that Obama is able to use all of his talent and intelligence to bring about economic, social and global prosperity. I hope that in four years from now people are able to look back and say, "Thing have been going pretty good. I am happy overall with the direction of this country and optimistic about its future."
Four years is a short time to reverse the problems caused by the last eight. Destruction is much easier than construction. I believe with the right tone and the right policies Obama can do good and even make believers of his detractors. I hope this not because I want Obama to be glorified, nor because I want people to accept my point of view. I hope he does this because I want our country to succeed.