Election Day Hope and Fears
When asked the seemingly benign question, "What does this election mean to you?" I have trouble giving an uplifting answer. I'm sure a lot of voters ( 53? ) are able to use the words of Obama himself to respond, saying that it means "change we can believe in" or that it represents hope.
The fact that this election is historic is not lost on me. That our next president could be someone who in the not so distant American past would not have been able to vote demonstrates huge strides in seeing all men as truly created equal, in terms of race. That is an ideological victory not to be overlooked. And yet, when judging a man not by his race but by the content of his politics, there are so many other ideological issues that, if triumphant at today's polls, I cannot view as victorious. My lack of support for Obama does not mean that I do not want change; in fact, there are many things that I would like to see changed in this country very much. I want to even hold onto hope that the next president will bring these changes to the White House. But "change I can believe in" is not, quite frankly, what this election means to me.
In effort to get a more positive response to report on (and blogging ideas), I decided to ask my husband his thoughts on what this election means to him. This is, after all, the man who answered the question (posed by one of my seventh grade students) "Are you Republican or Democrat?" with a diplomatic, "I serve my country and my commander-in-chief, regardless of political party." He thoughtfully responded to my question by saying that for him the issue in this election has been one of who would do the least damage to the country. He says that the American people don't want to be at war anymore, and he can't say that he blames them - my husband has served two overseas tours, one in Iraq - but that in the process of desiring that change, he fears that we are crippling ourselves, robbing ourselves, blinding ourselves. His vote represents his desire to hold on to some of the rights that came with the founding of this country - earned prosperity, guns, individualism.
I too fear that we have blinded ourselves. America wants change, and it is clear that we are willing to overlook quite a bit in the name of that change. We are willing to overlook inexperience, radical ties, inconsistent positions , blatant media bias , unrealistic idealism, unprecedented campaign funds and spending, and the like (all issues independent of party platform positions themselves) for the Messiah, the One who says the things we want to hear. It is not unlike how people felt in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929; it was inevitable that Herbert Hoover and his party would not be welcome in the White House - although a recent History Channel program has given me the impression that history has given the man more of a bad rap than he deserves.
But there is still hope, even for Republicans like me. Obama will be faced with the reality of domestic and international issues currently challenging our nation when he takes the oath of office. He will have to adjust to the challenges, and not all of Obama's policies that I take issue with will come to fruition. We are fortunate to live in a democratic country where I have a voice and will again have a voice in four years, because we live free of dictators and despots. I have faith and hope that my opinion still matters.
Go figure - even for me, this election does come down to hope.