Well, it’s the day after and here I sit taking in all the wonderful sentiments surrounding me.
Only days ago, only a few feet away from my cubicle, a cry rang out through my aluminum walls, “I hate Elizabeth Hasslebeck! I HATE her!” It was Evie, my twenty-something coworker down the hall. “If she says one more word, I’m gonna, its just … everything about her, just AHHH!”
It very well could have been my candy-induced, Halloween lull, but for reason (unlike my fellow coworkers) I felt calm in the early months of November. I work in a decidedly liberal environment, but had managed — remarkably — to keep a cooled temperament. Could this be the first signs of maturity? No?! I managed to stay steady despite the all the animation around me. I’m like a European living in Texas: tea in hand, never getting too worked up over the 9-1 football squad.
After last night’s charades, I came into work this morning alive to the possibility of happiness that would come from my fellow coworkers. I knew they’d all be on the verge of ecstatic (which is a good thing) and on my way in, I tried to prep myself with a little soul-searching of my own. It was in that morning mist that I tried to make good on a mental promise I had made some years ago: I wouldn’t be ‘that’ guy. Although I don’t agree with the President elect’s policies, I do agree with his sentiments. Fact: It’s tough to say that uniting the country is a bad thing.
It wasn’t really until early September that it hit me that Barack Obama was going to be our next President. I had held out till then, at least, tried to hold back the wave of intoxication that would follow in that single thought’s wake. ‘Barack Obama (coined ‘Barry’ by many already), our 44th President‘, will take some getting used to. And all this jumping and jiving makes me think I need a break from it all. It’s been a long campaign, has it not? There’s been a lot of firsts: a black man elected as Commander and Chief. A female presidential contender. And a VP I came to concede that I was legitimately attracted to. The 2008 run (which seemed to last the better part of two years) has finally come to a close. The dust has settled across the nation as the masses scamper home to their beds. The rallies are over. The microphones are shut off, for now. The voice of the people, although never silent, can rest awhile.
I don’t know that many of us could have done what these two men did: run rampant for 24 months, fighting back strict personal prying, holistic investigation and uber-stressful schedules amidst a raucous and crumbling economy, national pride and foreign policy. It surprises me that McCain made it this far. To be honest, by my calculations he should have died somewhere between the second and third debates. And as I sat in front of the television watching his secession speech last night, I couldn’t help but whisper to my roomate, “I wonder if he’s just sitting there, breathing deep, thinking, ‘its over…its finally over…’”. The face of a man who had just lost an election faced the nation, like many before him, with pride and dignity. He appropriately quieted the crowd when they booed, and eloquently made way for the star of the night. It may have been his only play, but still, nice job John; classy final move.
But where’s the rub? Why all of this now? Is this to make lemonade of a the lemons of loss?
For the past year, maybe more, I’ve been a proponent of change – right change. Well, more specifically, correct change. I’ve been proclaiming a better, cleaner, simpler America. I was never a supporter of Barack Hussein Obama and I don’t know that I’ll ever be thoroughly enthralled by his every move. I am, however, an American. Which is to say, there’s a price attached. As an American we’re given a choice: the option to choose right or wrong, pro or anti, lover or fighter — or maybe both. Those opportunities are given to us by a history of blood, sweat and tears and although sometimes lost amid the wear and tear of the daily grind, they should never be far from our daily living. Yep, it’s important to remember both where we came from and where we’re going. It’s important to have a dialogue with everyone around us in order to serve them, love them and enhance that daily living. But I do have a few questions. At what point though, does discussion (as arguing is so often believed to be) become divisive? Its true, there are three sides to a discussion: the mouth and the two ears. At what point do we instill confidence in our leaders by giving them our trust first and questions later? At what point do we give them trust, in accordance to the respect they deserve?
The past decade, for better or worse (and there’s been plenty), we’ve eliminated respect from the American equation. Like it or not, the people have spoken. Barack Obama is the resounding favorite in an election of divided truths. I think its time to stop and think, to sit and listen for a change. I’m not a big fan of protesting democracy.
Three years ago, after an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, I vividly remember sitting on my couch speechlessly disgusted at what I had just heard: a 60 minute diatribe of hate, disrespect and rage towards our current President, George Bush. One man, damningly proclaimed responsible for all the evil in the world, was left to rot in a never ending sea of spite and purified rage. Sure, who hasn’t been ashamed of Bush at some point? Who hasn’t been ashamed of all the presidents, at some point, that have held office in my lifetime? Problem is, at that moment, listening to one of America’s citizen’s speak so fervently hateful words, I was disgusted of this country’s citizen(s). What if the rest of the world is watching this? I felt like the father that looked behind his shoulder to see if the kids were watching, immediately ashamed of what was on.
Then a light bulb went on.
What about my thoughts towards the Clinton administration? How much legitamate hate did I have stored up in my hypocritical head? And that’s where it began … I promised myself on that day, come November 2008, I wouldn’t be ‘that’ guy. Whatever it looked like, I’d work towards common ground. I wouldn’t be filled with spite. I’d discuss with two ears and one mouth. And as this attitude rose up in me — the evangelical Right — it’d fall gently on a more beautiful America.
November 5, 2008 Posted by Bryce VanKooten | Entertainment | Barack Obama, Election, Evangelical Right, Joe Biden, John McCain, Politics, President, Prop 8, Proposition 8, Sarah Palin, Socialism | 2 Comments
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