It’s hard to describe the feeling this morning. Most of it, I think, at least in its early stages, is relief. Relief that Sarah Palin will go home; relief that John McCain can’t advance the interests of the wealthy and powerful on the backs of the poor; relief that the discourse of hate and anger didn’t win the election.
It’s that last one, I think, that I hope is the ultimate legacy of this election. To put it bluntly, the US told the Ann Coulters, Laura Ingrahams, Rush Limbaughs, Hannitys and O’Reillys and Liddys of the world, to SHUT UP!!!!!! Our country, the one that belongs to ALL of us, not just the people who agree with you, has had it up to here with your hate and anger. You gave it your best shot; you unloaded all the sleazy lies and innuendos you could think of; you spent hours and months, and millions of dollars, trying to generate a wave of hate, and that wave broke on a voting public that didn’t buy it.
For the first time in at least 8 years, probably more like 20, I feel like I live in my own country again. I didn’t wake up this morning wondering what the next phase of the coup (which inserted GWB into the White House) might look like. Although I disagree with Barack Obama on a great many issues, I feel like he not only understands the issues facing the citizenry, but more importantly that he’s committed to energizing participation in our democracy–not just in the voting booth, but in our homes, schools, religious institutions, social service agencies, and everywhere else.
The “change” Obama promises isn’t change in specific policies, although there are some policies that will certainly change. The change he promises is in the whole ethos of how our nation governs itself, how the citizenry participates in its own governing, how the *process* of deciding what’s best and then doing it gets done. I didn’t vote for Obama because he’s a Democrat (emphasis on the capital D). I voted for Obama because he’s a democrat (small d), which means I believe his goal is to give the country back to the people, where the power belongs.