Thursday, November 6, 2008

Where Susie Gets Taken Down a Peg or Two and This is Not a Political Post, Really

I was planning on blogging about the day after the election, with all its elation and hope, but I won’t. There are no words or spin to those words that I could write that have not been spoken or blogged already (it seems Green Girl and I are more like-minded than I initially thought). Anything that I can say would simply be old news.

So in lieu of describing the spring in my step, my smiles for strangers and my eagerness to share in the euphoria of our election results, I will tell you something that may surprise you. Not all my friends and acquaintances (even in the blogosphere) are Democrats. While you are gasping out loud, let me explain, because I was surprised too.

I was catching up on some reading today while I was thinking about how to blog about something other than politics. I came across a post written on Monday by a blogger I regularly read and who often comments here. It was a concession confession of sorts. It seems that she’s a closet Republican and she was posting about how she’s doesn’t fit the media-induced stereotype and won’t be happy with a Democrat in office. And I left what I thought was a respectful comment at the time about how brave she is for stating her thoughts even though there are people (like me) who disagree and isn’t it great that we can all get along despite our differences? Or something like that.

But once I hit the “post comment” button, I couldn’t help but feel like she had just pissed in my half-caf mocha latte. My elation was deflated. Of course she can write what she wants on her own blog – isn’t that the point of blogging? I really respect the fact that she did write that post because Lord knows; writing about politics can alienate your readership. I’d like to think that I am a better person and in riding the whole “We are United” feeling that both McCain and Obama infused in their speeches, I’d like to say that I’m OK with her having her own opinion. But I was surprised nonetheless.

My father’s racist jokes didn’t bring me down – I was prepared to hear them. There were a few Facebook comments from my more conservative acquaintances but these are people I know to lean more to the right. And I’m mildly curious as to why all the McCain yard signs have disappeared on my street, some before Tuesday even, because I couldn’t help but wonder, where is their loyalty? Even as we lectured our sons before school to be respectful to the people we know to be McCain supporters and not be all “Yes We Can” in their faces, I didn’t really consider that anyone out there might be feeling the same way I felt four years ago and four years before that. Because really, doesn’t everyone agree that this election ended in a rather exciting and awe-inspiring way? Are we not all enjoying the renewal of the American spirit?

So, yeah, I was surprised by the blogger’s post because I wasn’t prepared for her outing her party affiliation. And no, I don’t really think she was trying to ruin my fun. Judging by the other comments, I was the only reader who didn’t flat out agree with her. I don’t. It’s just a jolt to my self-absorbed psyche to find out that not everyone I like and have things in common with, admire even – have the same views as me. This was clear in the way that she wrote, “I hope they (the Democrats) don’t wreck the economy…” Um, because the economy is in such awesome shape now under the Republican watch? I may not be able to look at her quite the same way again. But will I go back to read her blog again? I hate myself for even asking.

She is simply exercising her First Amendment rights in stating one obvious difference in political views. In the simplest terms, Democrats think Republicans wreck everything and Democrats put it all back together and vice versa. Which is why Democrats are doing a happy dance right now (along with the rest of the free world) and Republicans are sneaking their yard signs into the trash under the cover of darkness.

So, I think my disappointment really stems from someone (and it just happened to be her) reminding me that not everyone is as happy about the returns as I am. I was forced to realize that it is pompous of me to assume otherwise. And maybe it’s just easier for a Democrat to feel this way, but right now, it shouldn’t matter whom you wanted to win. Right now, there is much work to be done and in the words of John McCain who said it so graciously and eloquently, disappointment is natural but our job now is to support our new president. Party lines are of little importance, really. No matter who has been voted into office, the work ahead affects us all. I said as much in my comment. I also said that my hope is that at least for now, the days of “it’s-us-against-them” politics are over.

And I hope they are.


Anonymous said...

A good friend of mine is a Republican. She and her husband are very nervous about what will happen to their business now. I think that even though I voted for Obama, I can still be nervous with her. I think that as her friend, I can be nervous with her - over the unknown. I also think that I can be hopeful though - and I hope that helps some.

@sweetbabboo said...

I totally know what you mean. I've had a hard time reading other blogs, viewing Facebook, etc because I have lots of friends who are just not as Liberal (or Liberal at all) as I am. There are so many things I want to say to refute their comments but instead I bite my tongue knowing that they too will move forward just like I did the past 2 elections. They are hurting right now but I cling to the hope that Obama can make good on his promises and reach across the aisle. Time will tell.

Incognito said...

Your comments, though tamer than most, are exactly why many of us remain in the closet about our politics. And after 8 years of being villified, bashed and ridiculed, did you really expect us to immediately open our arms and embrace an Obama presidency?

You say "And I’m mildly curious as to why all the McCain yard signs have disappeared on my street, some before Tuesday even, because I couldn’t help but wonder, where is their loyalty? "

We didn't toss them in the garbage as you allude to later in your post, most of them were stolen by overly enthusiatsic Obama supporters. Every time I saw McCain/Palin signs go up on my street, they were gone the next day. The Obama/Biden signs, however, remained.

I too hope he comes through with his promises, and only time will tell, but he never reached across party lines during his short senate term, I can't imagine why he would now.

Susie said...

I wanted to thank you for your thoughtful and respectful comment you left on my blog.
I reiterate, my post was about how I was forced to remember that I (and my liberal minded friends) are alone in our post-election euphoria, that it is pompous to assume everyone is happy and that I have perhaps been a hypocrite to assume that I could be the one to cross party lines and be respectful of different views. No offense to closet Republicans meant and hopefully none taken.
The yard sign issues probably vary from area to area - on my street that is dominated by elderly, white, conservative couples, these are the people who were removing their signs early on as they became more resolved to a McCain loss. I wasn't that sure that he would lose - for me, the results were a pleasant surprise. They find yard signs unsightly and it has been hinted that I remove mine - which I will do, out of respect for my neighbors.
And maybe, I concede - that the election came down to race at the end. Certainly, there are people who voted for Obama because of his AA heritage as well as people who didn't vote for him because of it (my dad is one of those). For them, it had nothing to do with party affiliation - just skin color. And that's just sad. Voting should be based on passions such as yours and such as mine - passions that you have stated so eloquently here.
I don't think luck is what is needed for OUR future president as much as sensibility and sensitivity. Let's see what the future unfolds.
Respectfully, Susie

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I was stunned to discover at book club that 2 of the women were McCain supporters and felt sour. It made me think many of the same things you wrote about today--I try to wrap my brain around why they'd feel so passionately about something that I so passionately disagree with and I can't.

So like a lot of people, I shove that significant difference under the rug and talk about other stuff.

Incognito said...

It's just that the Dems have never been respectful before, so I hope you can understand why we would still be licking our wounds and hesitant to take that hand. I have many negative memories of conservative bashing in a crowd of colleagues who did not know my politics. and on the few occasions I have been outed as a Republican, I have been shouted at and ridiculed.

We also see a very different Obama than you do, so that is another factor to consider.

As for your old neighbours taking down their signs pre-election.. *that* I blame on the shameful mainstream media (and polls) that had the country thinking Obama had it in the bag. They probably didn't bother to vote, either. Exactly what the media had in mind, I'm sure.

I just wish Obama wasn't as radical as I happen to see him. I would be much happier about the outcome if it were not for that.

we have had to deal with attitudes like your commenter greengirlinwisconsin, who talks about how stunned and sour she felt when she discovered 2 of her book club members were Republicans. as if we were somem sort of pariahs.. this is why many of us remain in the closet. I do it because I am an actress and I want to work. How sad and pathetic that in a democracy half of the population are made to feel like they are diseased. Liberals/Democrats are meant to be inclusive and tolerant, and they are generally speaking far from it. We shouldn't even be having to have this conversation.

But thank YOU for being respectful. I am not used to that.

Pamela Zydel said...

No one should reduce your elation over Obama’s victory, as no one should have diminished ours in the last 2. However, ours was diminished with the recount from day one. Then all the Bush bashing and hate-Bush bandwagons began. The Left blamed Bush from Hurricane Katrina to food prices. Anything and everything they could blame Bush for-they did. People seem to forget that he has kept us safe for the last 7 years. And they forget that the Dems took over Congress 2 years ago. I’m not happy about the Obama win, but I won’t diminish its significance in history and I refuse to bash him. If he screws up- I will scream from the top of my lungs. But I’ll give him a chance. That’s more than I can say the Left ever did for Bush.

1blueshi1 said...

this was my very first time to vote! and I was FLOORED when BOTH my kids came home from the school's mock election telling me that they voted for McCain. My son in particular seemed to feel personally violated that I voted for Obama. "But Mom he wants to raise taxes and gas prices!" "And where did you hear that, son?" "From McCain!" "Yep, let's have a little talk about politics, son." Right after I pick myself up from the floor I fainted on when you showed your little Republican ass.

Amanda said...

I think, much like going abroad and experiencing another culture, these election times remind us of all the different points of view and the different fantasies that send our hopes soaring.

I have struggled with the broad sweeping generalizations about people because they belong to one party or another. Certainly there are those who are more vociferous in their criticism, but the strength of their voices should not paint us all in a negative light.

I have profound admiration for John McCain and my celebration of Obama's victory does not diminish that in any way.

I fervently hope that Obama will follow through on his pledge to be a president to all of our country and to listen and grow. I will go on record as saying that I will be as disappointed in him if he doesn't as those who would not have had him enter office in the first place.

Margaret Cloud said...

I never get into discussions about politics, the only thing I hope is we are headed for a better future than we have had lately. It seems like our country needs a lot of putting back together.