Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yes, we can.

Yes. Yes, we did. This is our moment. This is a great moment, a great uplifting, a relieving refreshing reassuring referendum. Is it a referendum? It's not really a mandate. More of a mandate than the 51% Bush bragged about four years ago, certainly, but I wouldn't call it a landslide. I would definitely call it a statement. Only 46% of us were nutters this year, and America is ready for change. America is tired of Republican rule, deregulation, war, housing crises, economic disaster, and Bush. Not bush in general, but Bush specifically. After all, as I've said (been there, done that, have the bumper sticker on the freezer in our garage): The only Bush I trust is my own.

So. We finally got our asses in gear and our heads out of said asses and figured out that the best option for this country is a man who is a member or the reality-based community, one who does not call his wife a trollop and a slut (at least, not within hearing of a recording news camera), one who is not eighty billion years old, one who didn't show his complete contempt for the women of America with his vice presidential pick, one who understands the value of science and technology and of scientific inquiry, one whose vision for America does not rely on derisive air quote and shoulder hunched cackling.

I am sadly amused that so many people are genuinely scared, that so many people are so ignorant and ill-informed that they are certain some demon/ Muslim/ socialist/ communist/ black/ vegetarian/ baby mama/ terrorist fist bump agenda has taken the helm of America and will drive us straight to hell in a pack of nabs. To you I say, don't worry! He doesn't take office until January 20th! That's plenty of time for your esteemed and well-spoken George W. Bush to slide through a bunch of last minute appointments and rulings and enactments that are sure to make women beholden to men (because, after all, it is 1806, right?) and suck the environment further down the carbon-lined tubes of doom.

Of course, I (and my ilk) was so terrified of the prospect of a McCain/Palin administration that I literally made myself sick and was forced to watch the election results come in through a blur of generic menthol cold medicine, with a generic allergy medicine chaser. Yes, this election was about fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of staying the same, fear of a charismatic black man who has dared to be open and honest about his past, fear of a "Washington outsider" painfully proud of her ignorance, fear of a creaky old man who will decide who gets to marry whom and will make all of your child-birthing decisions the business of the government and will ensure that your children receive a sound Christian "education" in public secular schools -but he'll let you keep your guns, so who cares, right?

I am cautiously optimistic. I wonder how many people voted for Obama because of who he is vs. people who voted for him because of who he is not (John McCain/ George Bush). I wonder how many of his supporters truly understand his platforms and his stance on the issues. Of course, the majority of his opponents don't know them either -they only know what they were forwarded in an e-mail. And if it's got big block letters and three different fonts, it must be true, right? Extra points if you can use "socialist," "terrorist," "Muslim," and "inexperienced" in the same e-mail, and if you can misspell Obama's name, all the better!

I can't imagine being more disappointed in Obama than I have been for the past eight years, so I'm of the mind that anything has got to be better than the Bush administration's disasterous anti-science anti-women anti-sense policies.

I want to include here a segment of an e-mail I got from the editors of Free Inquiry Magazine, because I think it's well-worded and has excellent points:

In order that the ideals of democracy may be extended further, we offer some basic, humanistic ethical principles and goals that we hope the nation can achieve in the coming years. Even as they confront an economic crisis of massive proportions, we call on President Obama and the new Congress to base their actions on the following principles:

* Renewal of regulation for the protection of the public. The unlimited free market has been discredited. Virtually every other democratic society displays a mixed economy with robust public and private sectors. America needs to learn from this example.
* Universal health care. We view health care as a human right. Every major democracy except the United States has universal health care. While preserving a significant private component, it is time to enact legislation that ensures that every American is covered.
* The right to privacy. Every person should have the personal freedom to pursue his or her values and style of life, so long as he or she does not prohibit others from exercising like rights
* Equal access. Every person, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or class, should have the opportunity to realize his or her goals without being hampered by discrimination.
* Equality of concern. All individuals should (a) be considered as equal before the law; (b) have the same right to education, whether poor or rich; and (c) enjoy the opportunity to pursue gainful employment.
* Civil liberties. In a free and open democratic society, any effort to censor or restrict free expression must be impermissible. This encompasses the right of each individual to believe in and practice a chosen religion—but also the right of dissent and nonbelief.
* Separation of church and state. The United States needs to adhere to the First Amendment. We call upon President Obama to rise above his campaign rhetoric on this issue and end public support for faith-based charities as a violation of the First Amendment.
* Commitment to developing alternative energy sources. We need to refocus national policy based on an energy mantra that exhorts us to go green, green, green! in place of drill, drill, drill.
* Restoring respect for U.S. leadership in world affairs. The war in Iraq needs to be resolved by the new administration as soon as possible. Ideally, this should include some form of truth commission that would investigate key members of the previous administration for their roles in taking the nation to war on false pretenses, establishing an illegal doctrine of preemptive warfare, and instituting such repellent practices as torture and indefinite detention. America should refocus its foreign policy and commit to using first diplomacy rather than military force as it seeks to resolve conflicts peacefully in cooperation with others in the world.
—Paul Kurtz and Tom Flynn, editors of FREE INQUIRY MAGAZINE, Center for Inquiry

Yes, I'm happy. Yes, I'm optimistic. Yes, I look to the future with a sense of hope. Yes, the phrase “President Obama” sends a friendly shiver down my spine. Yes, I have a dance that ends with a "terrorist fist bump" and I will perform it upon request. Feel free to join in as you are inspired. Because, as you know, yes we can. And we so fucking did.

No comments: