That pretty neatly encapsulates how I feel about the results of last night's election. I had been tracking the electoral tally since about 1900 EST last night, and was a little nervous at first. But at a final count of 349 electoral votes to McCain's 163, I think it's safe to say that Obama did not simply beat McCain, he beat the shit out of him.
Having said that, I'm not angry or bitter at McCain: just the people who voted for him. McCain was, as ever, gracious in defeat, and in his concession speech I saw a bit of the man who first announced his bid for the presidency. Had McCain spoke with such earnestness and frankness for these many months - and had he not hitched his wagon to living piece of political satire Sarah Palin - I might have been more conflicted over who to vote for. The smear tactics, the pandering to the far right, and the naming of Palin as a VP candidate, however, alienated him to moderates, and he paid for it.
President Obama (fuck, it feels good to write that) was magnanimous and eloquent in victory. The speech he gave was rousing, patriotic, and inspiring, and while I remain a cynic at my core, I am nevertheless anticipating the Obama presidency eagerly, and for the first time in almost eight years, I feel cautiously optimistic, not just cautious.
As I mentioned, I find myself feeling an uncharacteristic amount of aggression towards McCain voters. Not the chucklefucks in the red states, that I expected: rather, I know people, some close, others not, many of whom I like and respect, but nevertheless voted for McCain. A vote for McCain I could very nearly understand, but when a vote for McCain is also a vote for Palin, I find myself at a loss for understanding. My girlfriend does not understand this anger. I attempted to explain to her with a metaphor, saying that if someone spits on your and misses, they still tried to spit on you, you'd still be angry, but she thinks I should just be happy my side won. And I am happy my side won, but there still exists in me this burning need to understand, to make peace with the idea of people I like voting for an agenda that includes bigotry, warmongering, greed, superstition, and fear. Which of those things is most appealing to you? I suspect that, for the most part, the people I know who voted for McCain are fiscal conservatives and - now - single-issue voters. I wish this were a balm to my anger, but it isn't. I registered Socialist this election, and I did so before it was popular to call Obama that as an insult. I reg'd Socialist because I actually do believe that wealthy people should be taxed more to provide for people who make less. The upper class has always exploited and made their fortunes on the backs of the working class. We should all be so lucky as to make so much money the government would consider taxing us extra to provide for the underclass, and some wealthy person crying about having to pay an extra 3% in income tax to provide universal health care and education to every man, woman, and child in this country is so perverse and disgusting to me that it makes me wish I had cinder blocks for hands. The underclass this money is providing for is not, as your tribal elders would have you believe, to support legions of lazy people who won't work: these programs are there to support gas station attendants, waiters, dishwashers, retail clerks, truck drivers, craftsmen, teachers, janitors, and all the rest of us millions of working stiffs who bust our asses just to keep from drowning. The one solace I take in this is knowing that in all likelihood, several years from now my friends and loved ones who voted against Obama in this election will know that they were on the outside of an epoch-making moment in American history. Things will have changed for the better, and while everyone will have shared in the prosperity, they will know that they made the wrong choice.
I was told by someone close to me that if I was making that much money, I wouldn't want to pay the extra taxes, either. It made me feel a little sick in the pit of my stomach, because I thought they knew me better than that. If any of my "fiscally conservative" friends are reading this right now, I want to make my stance on the matter crystalline:
The international reaction to our election here in America is pretty heartening, too. It seems the whole world was pulling for not just Obama, but for us, as well. At a discussion site I frequent, encouragement and support poured in from people all over the world, congratulating us for not fucking things up. Then I see sites like Election Day Around the World and If the World Could Vote and I realize that this isn't just a victory for Obama, or for we Americans, but for people all over the world who were pulling for us to wake up and stop behaving like dicks. I truly hope we can do the whole world proud and that with some good leadership at our helm, we can be a great nation again.
The dark lining to all of this is that Prop 8 passed in California, a state I used to be proud to be from. California, long a bastion of free-thought and liberal ideas, voted 52-48 to institute a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage, as well as possibly annul marriages that were conducted during the brief period when they were 100%, no-bullshit legal. Whether or not these marriages will be grandfathered in is still up for the courts to decide. I know it's callous to wish anybody harm, but I honestly hope there's a fucking riot of bloodbath proportions when these hearings get underway. I want to see Mormon heads decorating pikes flying rainbow flags. I'm sick of hoping that enlightenment and love will magically fall upon the old and hateful: now I just want them so fucking afraid of the people they're dicking that they will do whatever we fucking tell them to.
I know it isn't a very democratic notion, but I've never been a very big fan of the democratic model, so fuck it.
When thinking about Prop 8 gets me down, I hope for the future, repeat the words "President Obama" in my head once more, and remind myself that Sarah fucking Palin is on a plane back to the frozen wastes of her icy kingdom, where hopefully she will never be seen or heard from in the lower 48 ever again.