With the election behind us, it’s been interview after interview of the what-ifs, should-haves, could-haves, with all the seeming crystal clarity that only hindsight can ever boast. I’m beginning to find it all too exhausting to listen to. I watched the outcome of the election unfold on Tuesday night. I watched Governor Romney give his concession speech. I waited for our re-elected president give his victory speech, always in his eloquent style.
Some soundbites worth mentioning coming from the radio, TV, Internet sites, and print media of interviews of political pundits, journalists, political consultants, leaders of political parties and religious groups, professors of history, public policy, anthropology, political sciences:
- The day after the election, many in the far right sent out announcements, promises, and declarations that they will “take back their country” or “save the United States” and “return to traditional America” in the 2014 and 2016 elections by galvanizing as many extreme right-wing members to act in solidarity.
- That Obama is a master planner. He was a community organizer, remember? He had his efficient campaign machine plan and executed this seamlessly. It’s not that he’s better qualified to lead the country, he was just better at organizing his campaign, they said.
- That Obama won the Hispanic vote, the women’s vote, other minorities, but only by a small margin, really. It’s not that significant. Republicans still hold the House so the American people are still with the GOP. He just got lucky that circumstances sort of came together. It’s not that they thought he was a better candidate to run the country.
- Republicans just need to cater some more to the Hispanics, Asians, and women in this country. The Republicans need just a few of them to convert to their side and it’s enough to tip the balance to their favor. They just need to better communicate the good old traditional Christian values and entrepreneurial spirit that Republicans are known for. This is because these values are held very highly by these groups. And this would trump any immigration issues or any women’s rights or gay rights issues.
- That there is no need for Republicans to come to a middle ground about immigration. The Hispanics who have lived in the United States for generations would understand this and they can win the Hispanic vote over without giving in to any immigration issues.
- That Republicans need not change their thinking of women’s rights issues such as mandating public health programs to allow women to avail of oral contraception, and the comments about rape by some candidates were unfortunate but not permanently damaging.
- There is still frequent reference to Michelle Obama as a “cow” and President Obama as the “Muslim Kenyan.”
- That an African-American cannot run the United States. That a Mormon cannot run the United States.
- That Romney was not the right Republican candidate because he was not conservative enough.
- Republicans lost because of the rise of the Tea Party and that most GOP candidates were pressured to tow the purist brand of conservatism to satisfy their constituents.
- There was the overwhelming white vote (white, male, older) for the white candidate and the overwhelming minority (women, young people, Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, LGBT, and the like) vote for the black incumbent. There is the exception of New Hampshire and Iowa, both predominantly white states where Mr. Obama won. I guess they were not voting along racial lines.
- States like Florida, where the GOP has the upper hand, have done their best to suppress voting: they introduced so many bills that it would take a voter to have to wade through so many proposed bills aside from voting for a president. They also shortened the number of days for early voting but did not provide the organization and staff for the actual voting days. The latter was also attempted in Ohio but backfired.
- Most Americans still believe in the American Dream. That this is a meritocracy. That every American has equal opportunity to make it.
- And from the sound of the GOPs whining and hand-wringing, you’d think that President Obama has been single-handedly responsible for the near disappearance of the middle class.
I sit back and I think about this big beautiful country we have embraced to be our home and settled to raise our family. I look back for the reasons we left Canada. Yes, sane, even-tempered, sensible, diverse and no less beautiful Canada. I admit, it took me a few years to learn to accept America for its sociocultural contradictions and idiosyncrasies, even become less unkind to its hypocrisy. I roll my eyes less and less, not unlike my attitude toward some long-time friends who openly boast, “I have a son so we’re not worried if he decides to experiment with his girlfriends.” Okay, my eyes did roll up again.
This nation is like no other in the world. Yes, other countries boast of diversity rivaling ours. But, is their population as big as ours? We have representation from just about every ethnicity, race, country, religion, socio-economic status, and orientation in our society, and we have a lot of them. To find a way for such a diverse group to come together, let alone address the need of each, would be a monumental task. And it will not happen overnight. The impossible will take a little longer.
The writing is on the wall about many inevitabilities:
- Minority groups are growing. It will not be long before the minorities will become the majority.
- Women have become more educated, independent, and vocal about their rights. What is it about some men who are obsessed with dominating women’s reproductive systems? Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, could not have said it more succinctly at the INFORUM’s 21st Century Visionary Awards on October 10, 2012.
- Women’s health issues and freedoms are an economic issue worthy of public funding and mandate. And no religious group should stand in the way of this basic human right.
- Men and women, should be able to marry and enjoy the civil rights and privileges that accompany it, whether they be a heterosexual or homosexual union. Again, no religious group should stand in the way of this basic human right. Three states voted to legalize same-sex marriage! Tammy Baldwin becomes the first openly gay person to be elected to the US Senate.
- Rape is rape. It’s never legitimate. A woman cannot will herself not to be pregnant after she has been raped. This type of discourse serves only to expose the deep-seated double standard and mythical thinking that still pervades many a Republican household. Two states rewarded Akin (Missouri) and Mourdock (Indiana) with a big thumbs down!
- Most people do not favor extremismof any kind. The ultra-religious right who use the name of God liberally to put their antiquated obsolete rigid ideology may rant and rave. And the media who love the sensational and the ridiculous will always give them air time. Even extreme liberalism, (such as some extreme nudist activists in San Francisco) is not popular either.
Some sad truths and revelations:
- The American Dream has become a myth. This is not a meritocracy. It’s really an old boys’ club. 40% of the country’s wealth is concentrated on 1% of the population.
- There is an almost cult-like affection and admiration for the Obamas. Obama’s victory was the most retweeted messages in Twitter history. It was something like 329,000 tweets/minute. When people saw how Republicans were disrespectful towards their president, even repeatedly undermine his legitimacy, it only served to anger them and galvanize them. Would they have done the same had he been white?
- Why do we need to “take back our country?” Was it ever stolen? Well, look again because it’s also the country of Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, Middle Easterners, gays, lesbians, transgenders, women, Muslims, Hindi, Buddhists, atheists, and the list goes on.
- President Obama had 9 out of 10 African-American votes, 7 out of 10 Latino votes, and 7.5 out of 10 Asian American votes. It’s not so much the broad policies. It was more on issues of identity and privilege. House Speaker John Boehner (R) himself said in an interview the next day, “How do we speak to all Americans? You know, not just the people who look like us and act like us, but how do we speak to all Americans?”
- Mitt Romney is most likely a moderate Republican, judging from his comments early on in the race. When he marched to the neoconservative drum, his candidacy was doomed. Not conservative enough? Having Ryan as his running mate was proof enough he was trying too hard to cater to the ultraconservative few.
- I hear some even put forward that President Obama is as moderate Republican as we’ll ever get in this day and age. That he is essentially what moderate Republicans were 10-15 years ago maybe. I guess this species of Republican is not recognizable to the current day mutated types.
- Why does Donald Trump, who has repeatedly proved his parochial thinking and irrelevance, need to “stop this travesty?” Why is electing (and re-electing) an African-American to lead our country so distasteful to him and his kind?
- Bill O’Reilly, who was at least coherent than Limbaugh or Hannity, said “the white establishment is now the minority… the demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America anymore.” Yup! You said it. And it’s not the end of the world either. Well, it might be the end of the traditional microcosm that you and Beck, Limbaugh, and Hannity have chosen to limit yourselves in.
- Many GOP candidates and religious activists or evangelicals lay claim to such pure and righteous principles that have long been the laws that dictated how they and their forbears lived. But is it really? Whenever I hear about these sorts claim that they talk directly to God or that they hear God speak to them or that they know with absolute certitude (beyond reasonable doubt!) they know God’s will, I am always tempted to bring out my DSM IV manual* and peruse the pages for the right diagnosis.
Deep down, I want to believe that everyone just wants a civilized society where people can coexist with dignity, respecting one another’s uniqueness while at the same time ensuring that everyone’s “inalienable rights” are protected and preserved. That our government will be there to promote and protect our welfare but allow us our independence and dignity. That all the features that seem problematic—our diversity, our large numbers, our having come from many lands to embrace this land and call it home, will one day be our greatest strength. That we will allow America to evolve naturally, not prevent its evolution artificially by insisting on an era that has long passed.
*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV
- Robert Creamer: Six Reasons Why the 2012 Election Will Be Considered Historic (huffingtonpost.com)
- Face of US changing; elections to look different (seattletimes.com)
- Face of US changing; elections to look different (star-telegram.com)
- Republicans search for way back to White House – Atlanta Journal Constitution (ajc.com)
- Minority issues must be addressed (jsonline.com)
- The New America: What the election teaches us about ourselves (cnn.com)
- Six Reasons Why the 2012 Election Will Be Considered Historic (ypervasi.wordpress.com)
- Ain’t That America, by Martha Thomases – Brilliant Disguise | @MDWorld (mdwp.malibulist.com)
- Note To Republicans: For Your Own Good Don’t Blame Hurricane Sandy (davidmixner.com)
- Editorial: The Republicans, Post-Election Day (nytimes.com)