Sunday, November 11, 2012

Election Reflections

The rains came last Thursday, giving us many hours of sitting indoors in front of the woodstove and time to reflect on Obama's re-election. We couldn't believe how quickly the night was over on Tuesday. Not five minutes after the polls closed here in California, Obama was declared the winner. Just like that, our fear gave way to joy. Our minds were blown. Our hearts were elated. Sighs of relief and peals of laughter. Such a moment.

By Thursday I had seen that red/blue election map with its stark contrasts way too many times. Oh yes, that map screams we are a country divided with those hard, impenetrable lines. On that rainy Thursday I had all this time on my hands and a map that totally annoyed me. So, I set out to color the map in a way that better reflects the crazy purple country that we are. It took several hours to construct this crude symbol, but I think it more clearly shows by percentages of red and blue what we we really look like.

OTOH, we really don't look like that purple map at all. We look more like this. Rural areas lean red, urban areas lean blue. I sincerely wonder why that is. I heard the right-wing lament all across the internet, the airwaves, the newspapers oh how they had lost their country. They were "outnumbered." They were overrun by the "takers" instead of the "makers." The country is no longer "white." OH SHUT UP, I screamed at them. It is they who have forgotten the dream and promise of our country, not us.

I had Dylan's "The Times They Are A Changin" in my head for days. It made me glad to remember. It also made me consider that nearly fifty years had passed since he wrote those words. When I was not yet a teenager, I expected those changes to come so quickly. I could hardly wait. As I got older I feared they would not come at all. Now I know and remember that, "the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice" (Martin Luther King).

A quote from Truthout, Rabbi Michael Lerner:
...liberals and progressives do have something to celebrate. The vast majority of Americans still yearn for a world based on generosity, caring for each other, caring for the environment, respecting difference (racial, gender, sexual orientation) and eliminating poverty and war. Though the Democratic Party and the re-elected president will provide few avenues to advance this kind of an agenda, Americans used the only available mechanism they had for publicly reaffirming this commitment.
 It's why we vote, and will always vote, and will protect the rights of all to do the same.


  1. "Now I know and remember that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."

    That is my perception, too.

  2. A wonderful post, Robin, and I do so agree! I love the quote and it's my perception, too. Thank you!


  3. yes! I was reading am's post today...something about us weary ancients (I'm paraphrasing) but it's true, the world has in many ways changed. Sadly, in many ways not. But inroads are happening, and when I look at college aged kids today, I have even more hope. In general, they had no doubt (unlike us) that Obama would win re-election.

  4. Huh. I never would have guessed that you would find joy in the election of a US president who has a kill list.

  5. Right arm, Robin Andrea! And, I completely agree with Rabbi Lerner's statement. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

  6. I agree too! Changes happen slowly when viewed through history's lens, but I think the pace of change has quickened. There's been a lot of positive strides in our lifetimes. I think the same-sex marriage and universal health care issues will be favorably resolved within 25 years. Not within this decade, but it'll happen.

  7. Bad things happen when folks hold lesser evil to a lesser standard. Still, that naive part of me will not die, for like you there is some hope stirring about.

  8. There are days when I feel that all's hopeless, but then something happens to give me a shred of hope. The election results did that. I think the hard-line right wingers may, eventually, begin to soften when they see that the rest of us are actually willing to bend a bit from our passionately felt, but sometimes impractical, demands for immediate justice. It will come in time, methinks. But it's unlikely to come while we can still see it.

  9. I think perhaps the thing that worries me is the polarization that this election showed. It amazes me that the vote was overwhelmingly for Obama or for Romney based upon the makeup of the groups. Not a good sign for working together. But still I hope.

  10. The Stranger (local alternative newspaper) did a map analysis similar to what you did, and arrived at this:

    "Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America. We live on islands of sanity, liberalism, and compassion"

    Full article <a href=">here</a>.

  11. Hey Robin, I had "The Times They Are A Changin" in my head today as I walked to work!

    I think it has something to do with how quickly the nation is getting used to the idea of same gender marriages and something to do with the reelection of an African American when I didn't believe I'd see that first appointment during my lifetime...