No political parties were injured while writing this blog. Signed, your friendly neighborhood Independent.
When I was working my way through college, I had a job at a lumberyard/do-it-yourself store. I was hired by a friend whose management style was to let us do what we want as long as our stuff got done. We were extremely productive (and efficient) and never had so much fun. However a few months after accepted a promotion at another store. Taking his place was militant, keys on a chain short guy with a bad case of the Napoleons who tried to micromanage everyone to the point where we worked harder avoiding him and work than actually getting things done. Then one day, something amazing happened – my friend was back as the head manager of my store. And the guy who took his place was demoted to night manager. It was like our own little era of good feelings. We didn’t have a care in the world; life was good again.
I tell you that story because I felt that way again, on November 5, the day after Obama was elected. And this is where we start my list of top five observations of the 2008 election.
5. As long as your last name isn’t Bush…. I’m serious. The day after the election everyone was walking around like a college freshman whose girlfriend finally got her period. Nothing could ruin the day. Even people who voted for McCain admitted to feeling some happiness, some change. Me? I attribute it to the fact that the President’s name is no longer Bush.
4. Hypocrisy Rules. I don’t recall ever having seen more blatant, unapologetic hypocrisy then I have in the past month. From the simple (McCain ripping Obama for his pork belly spending when his running mate is the governor of the state with the highest pork belly spending) to the sad (James Dobson’s Focus on the Family organization releasing a ‘Letter from a Christian in 2012′ claiming Obama had torn America apart. Uhhh….wasn’t that the basis of McCain’s whole campaign? I.E. ‘real’ v. ‘fake’ America) to the innaccurate (Palin claiming she is a federalist – but is in favor of anything that enforces abortion on a National level) to the infuriating (Obama is a Muslim/African/Black guy/insert offensive word here yet promoting Piyush “Bobby” Jindal as the future face of the GOP – so, let me get this straight, democratic minorities bad, republican minorities good?).
3. Rachel Maddow has arrived. Oh Rachel Maddow. Has anyone ever risen through the ranks faster than you? I didn’t want to like you. I was fine with my hour of Hardball and hour of Olberman. However, I slowly started to get hooked on your biting and funny (sometimes more so than your lead-in) commentary. Then you landed an interview with Barry himself. And finally, you locked me up with your Twitter presence. Your future is bright and I look forward to watching you be ‘talked down’ for years to come.
2. SNL’s writers are terrible. Don’t get me wrong; I loved the show and political impressions. It was can’t miss for me. But the material (literally) wrote itself every week. Where was the imagination I used to see with the SNL of the 90s? Seeing Perot drive Stockdale into the wilderness? Bill Clinton stopping off at a McDonalds during a campaign visit? Bill and Hillary on C.O.P.S for domestic disturbance? The acting was great and it was enertaining but you guys left a lot on the table. (But thank you for the genius of Seth Meyers for writing the ‘Palin Rap’.)
1. America is alive and well. I know that sounds as crazy as McCain’s ‘the fundamentals are strong’ comment. But what I realized this election – what I thought had passed – is that America still cares about those things that make us great. Like freedom of speech, the democratic process and passion to a cause or party (of which I wish there was more of). Even when I disagreed with someone I was thankful for the chance to discuss it. I didn’t cry or get emotional during Obama’s acceptance speech – I don’t feel I have earned it – but I did get a tingle when I walked up to my polling place at 6:30 a.m. and saw a line out the door, a line consisting of blacks, white, old, young, men, women – all standing in line to cast a vote for something they believe in. Love it or hate it, that’s what makes us unique. And it was great to see.