When This Is, That Is

Exploring the world of conditionality

The Sadness of Victory


I’m grateful Barack Obama won reelection. Of the two candidates he is the more principled and the one more able to understand and address the needs of the entire country, not just the other 47%. In spite of the powerful propaganda that says he has done nothing during the past four years, Obama has a long list of accomplishments to his credit. But I’m not writing to extol his accomplishments and virtue or cheer his reelection. I’m writing about sadness.

Yes, I’m grateful that, as a country, we did not pay the ransom demanded by the Republican party, which has held the president—and the country—hostage since Inauguration Day, 2009. It says a lot about our collective national character. But Obama’s first term brought another aspect of our national character into the world spotlight. What it exposed is very ugly and destructive. 

When Obama took the electoral vote, I felt a surge of relief. But I feel no joy or excitement. I feel no momentum moving forward. I feel sad about the whole thing. I’m sad because we will have four more years of resistance and obstruction from the House of Representatives—all for the purpose of preventing one man from doing the job we elected him to do and denying him any credit for the good he’s done and will strive to do. I’m sad because we must endure four more years of  hatred spewing forth from Limbaugh, Coulter, Palin, Hannity, Beck, O’Reilly, Rove, Trump, Breitbart, and so many others whose sole purpose is to foment dissension and even revolution.  

A world free of differences of opinion is not possible, nor is it desirable. In a reasonable society, people can overcome their differences, find a balance, and work together for the greater good. The fomenters of hatred, dissension, and revolution do not have the common good in mind. They may talk about the Constitution, but they don’t believe in we all the people. They may point to the Declaration of Independence as an inspiration for revolution, but that document is built on reason, not on hatred. 

No good will ever come from speech fueled by hatred. Never—no matter how tightly wrapped in a flag of patriotism or supported by a cross of religion—will speech steeped in hatred be a force for good. Never. It is always a force for evil. Freedom of speech is an American hallmark. But what happened to integrity and responsibility? It’s sad that we’ve given so much power to hatred. Very sad. 

I don’t believe that all those who supported Mitt Romney were inspired or influenced by the evil speech that is so prevalent today. But millions and millions of people were and are, and the world knows it.  

Had Mitt Romney won the election, we could have expected profound changes—for good or bad—in law and the economy. We will never know. Certainly, we would have had relief from the hateful, misleading diatribes that masquerade as truth. But all that is superficial compared to the deeper character flaws that would yet be festering within our national psyche had the election turned out differently.  

But it’s Obama and not Romney who is president. What comes next depends on what power we, as a country, will give to the hate mongers and obstructionists. I just can’t bring myself to feel very good about any of it.

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