Monday, November 10, 2008

Wallowers in Hyperbole

I've spent a good chunk of the time since Election Day trying to convince a lot of younger (and a few older) McCain voters, mostly good people I would otherwise trust my future children with, to stop trying to kickstart "Obama Derangement Syndrome" into existence. Admittedly, the fact that in my copious free time I help moderate a Yahoo! group basically dealing with two subjects—politics and hypnosis (which actually do go together)—hasn't helped, but at least I expected this kind of reaction there. But from so many non-Internet friends and family? Since Tuesday, I've heard and read everything from "I'm moving to Mexico" to "Texas, or Alaska, or Wherever should secede" to "He's not my president" to "Time for a real revolution" to stuff I couldn't post here even if I replaced all the vowels with asterisks.

Tuesday night was not the outcome I was hoping for, either, and I agree that the next four years are going to be "interesting," to say the least. But in my own life, I've seen this country survive Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, a Bush, Clinton, and another Bush. (I can't speak about LBJ. I was in diapers then, but I suspect we survived him as well.)

So, to all my friends who are presently wallowing in hyperbole, or actively looking for excuses to become even angrier and more depressed, take a breath. Please. We can survive four years of anyone in the White House. (Yes, we can!) And I, for one, refuse to imitate Barbara Streisand by saying that I'll flee the country just because the other guy won an election—and then not actually do it. Of course, I stopped taking seriously anything Barbara Streisand said a long time ago, and well before she claimed to spend her evenings with James Brolin trading notes on each other's scripts. (I really see the subtle influence of Streisand's Yentl on Brolin's Pensacola: Wings of Gold. Really.) And I'm not sure that Susan Sarandon could ever really handle the ego deflation that would come with no longer being able to claim the Neocon Conspiracy™ is listening in on her each and every phone call. (Susan Sarandon really is that important and dangerous to their plans. Really.)

Seriously, I didn't vote for Barack Obama, but the man in the White House isn't all-powerful. Support him when he's right, which at times, believe it or not, he will be. Work to convince him when he's not. And then oppose his policies and decisions if and when he won't be convinced.

I don't envy anyone, Democrat or Republican, who has to sit in that office and make those decisions, and the man Barack Obama will be six or nine months from now won't be the same man he is tonight, or even who he was six or nine months ago. Presidents never are. Barack Obama won the election, though, so he's earned the chance to prove me wrong about him—and if he actually does, no one will be happier than me.

I'll be praying for the good health and success of President Obama—and not just because the idea of "President Joe Biden" is what really scares me. But because after the last eight years, no one is going to convince me that repeating how the majority of Democrats and the Daily Kos crowd smeared and belittled George W. Bush at every turn in the most vicious and personal ways, only now having it come from our side toward Barack Obama, is the right way to go and will somehow be good for this country. Going that route makes us no different than the people who opposed Bush at every turn not because of his policies, but because he once choked on a pretzel while watching a football game (he's a redneck!), or pronounces it "nuke-you-ler" (he's a moron!), or actually prays for wisdom and guidance (he's the American Taliban!).

Or worse, because in reality, he's actually a shape-shifting reptile (he's an ALIEN!).

They expect this same kind of reaction from us, because it's the reaction too many of them would have. And the reaction too many of them have had, over the past eight years.

We're better than that. Or at least, we should be.

And so are they. Or at least, they should have been.