Post-election thoughts

I am so relieved to have Obama for another four years. I am SO FUCKING EXCITED about our new senator, Elizabeth Warren. Obviously she’s going to have a learning curve but I think her outsider status to the fucked up mess that is the U.S. Senate has the potential to be a breath of fresh air. And yet, she’s been in academia, so she knows how to navigate political landmines.

I hope that Republicans will swing back toward the middle, and practically speaking they will have to if they ever want to control the presidency again. But I am struck by the loss of moderates on both sides – Ben Nelson, Olympia Snowe, Richard Lugar, Scott Brown. All were replaced by people further to the left or further to the right of them, further polarizing things.

I wrote last night on Facebook that I was most struck last night about how excited I was to have my son, who is now just six months and has no idea who or what a president is, grow up learning to walk, talk, and have some awareness of the world around him with Barack Obama as president. For an African-American boy adopted to two white moms, this is so, so important.

But I also remembered a series of conversations I had before and after he was born. No one in the southern state where he was born blinked an eye about two white moms adopting a Black boy, but multiple people reacted to the news that we were from Boston: “Oh,” they said, clearly crestfallen, “He’s going to be a Yankee.” And up in New England, more than one friend said to us “oh, you’re rescuing him” when we told them about the adoption plan.

These comments were all meant as jokes, but they belie a deeper truth about this country – these divisions are real. The division between “North” and “South” in this country is as deep as racial divides and class divisions, which are both so, so deep. We are, in many ways two or perhaps three different countries with very different values and cultures. We have been since the Civil War, perhaps since even earlier. Yet the only thing that makes us a country is our shared Constitution, the document that binds us together and says “this is who we are as America, this is what we believe, this is the kind of country we are going to be.” Do we all still believe in that? Do we have enough to hold us together still? Can we survive as individual states or regions if we don’t?

I am genuinely hopeful that Barack Obama is the president to try and bridge these divisions, but he will need partners to do this. I hope he will find some in the new U.S. Congress.

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~ by realsupergirl on November 7, 2012.

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