Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Next Day

There are things you'll see in San Angelo that you just wouldn't see in Austin. Yesterday we saw a heavy, elderly man, dressed in overalls and a cowboy hat, riding his bike down the street with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

And the McCain-Palin signs, of course, are everywhere. This is a strange place to be the day after the election. Not so much strange that it was overwhelmingly pro-McCain - this is one of those parts of Texas, perhaps you've heard of them, that isn't Austin - but strange to me that people I'm meeting for the first time today - people I'm meeting in a professional capacity, who are in a position to want to impress me - freely open the conversation with, "Lord, it's awful about the election, can you believe it?"

Smile, and change the subject: I'm at work.

It is going to be difficult - very difficult; but I believe Obama was a great deal more sincere (as well as significantly more articulate) in his acceptance speech last night, when he expressed his intention to serve all the people, not just those who had supported him, than a certain other uniter-not-a-divider was.

Of course the problem (as I see it anyway) with those on the far right is that they tend to feel they are being trampled upon if you stop them from sticking their noses in other people's business. I'm pro-choice, but will allow the debate on abortion rights: if you really believe human life is sacred and begins at conception, defending the helpless does not necessarily constitute meddling. (However, allowing exceptions for rape or incest is hypocritical.) But attempting to regulate others' private behavior, or dictating religion, or telling perfect strangers who they get to marry, is just flat out dumb-stupid wrong - and I'm really tired of the kind of people who scream "persecution" because most everyone else would just like them to mind their own damn business.

Last night represents the first time I've gotten a candidate I wanted, actually. I voted for Dukakis when I was nineteen, but frankly wasn't all that excited about it. I voted for Clinton in 92 and 96, but with some disappointment that he had defeated Paul Tsongas in the primaries. As I recall, pundits at the time felt Tsongas was unelectable in part because of the foreign quality of his name. So I think this election also demonstrates a huge shift towards tolerance and sophistication on the part of the American people.

Now, if only the Electoral Fairy Godmother would sparkle in and issue Obama a magic wand to fix everything right up, we'd be completely set. But failing that, I'll settle for working and hoping for a change for the better.

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