The Day After the Day After

8 Nov

I had every intention of writing a post-election post yesterday but spent most of the day on a short trip to Richmond to meet up with my family.  I had started getting sick (a cold) while watching the election returns, and by the time I got home yesterday I was in pretty bad shape.  Rather than try to muddle through my feelings I decided to wait until today to jot down my thoughts.  I’m glad I did–I think that the extra time gave me a little bit of clarity.

First let me say that I was shocked by the results.  I realize that there was quite a bit of polling data that pointed to the actual outcome, but I did not think there was any way that Democratic turnout would be as high as it was in 2008.  I was wrong.  Hats off to President Obama’s team for their tremendous ground game.

Four years ago, this is how I felt when Barack Obama first won the presidency.  A lot has happened in the four years hence: I got engaged, got married, bought a house, had a daughter, got out of the Navy, moved to Virginia from California, lost a baby.  Also in those four years we have actually witnessed the presidency of the candidate of hope and change.  I truly wish that I felt as optimistic today as I did in 2008.

In 2008, Barack Obama campaigned as a healer, a uniter.  It was easy to get swept up in his beautiful rhetoric and personal story.  Today, not so much.  At least not for me.

I have many, many thoughts about this election and why things turned out the way that they did.  People who are much wiser and have better access to data will pick everything apart, from the primaries to campaign commercials to changing demographics.  Political scientists will suggest fine-tuning this message or making a dramatic reversal on that issue.  We’ll see what the future of the GOP has in store, but from where I sit I think that we may be fighting a losing battle.

I am saddened, really, by where I think our country is today.  It appears that more citizens than not feel that the answers to our myriad problems lie in an ever-expanding federal government.  It is a good and noble thing to want to help the poor in our society, and well-intentioned people used to be able to disagree on how best to accomplish this important task.  Now it seems that if you do not believe that the answer is food stamps and 99 weeks of unemployment benefits and redistribution of wealth and “free” health care then you are selfish and greedy and only care about “the rich.”  Never mind if these programs actually work or if they perpetuate a hopeless cycle of dependency.

It is also my belief that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party lost the “war on women” war of words.  I live in Alexandria, Virginia, and was inundated with ads about how Romney wanted to take away women’s rights, which were never enumerated.  I thought about what those rights could be and surmised that apparently  women’s rights encompass the right to abort an unborn child at any stage of development for any reason, and the right to free birth control.  We can argue about the merits of either of those “rights” but the message got through to the intended audience; women preferred Obama to Romney by a 10-point margin.

So my heart is a little heavier than it was four years ago.  I worry a lot more–now it is not just me that I have to think about but the futures of my children and grandchildren.  I do still hold out some hope, mostly because some of my dearest friends believe so differently from me.  I don’t agree with their views but we are all sincere in our beliefs.  Maybe they will be proven right and I will be proven wrong, or maybe the pendulum will swing back in a few years.   In the meantime a Thomas Jefferson quote keeps repeating in my head, over and over again:  Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have…the course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.

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5 Responses to “The Day After the Day After”

  1. Lindsey November 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Very eloquent, Sarah!

  2. Mariellen November 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    There is no reason to mourn, Sarah. There is no reason to fret over the future of our country. I may not share your views, but this is why we have three branches of government. The House is still a Republican majority so it’s not as if your wishes and hopes will be forgotten for the next four years. I am hopeful because what I want to see more than anything is compromise among the parties and my optimism is telling me that this will maybe happen. People forget that Obama is closer to a moderate; he pisses the Democrats off as much as he does the right wing. We’ll be ok, and I’m sure you’ve noticed the same thing I have throughout life: the older I get the faster time flies, so these next four years will be gone before you know it 🙂

    • sarahshellock November 9, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      Mariellen, don’t worry I’m not in mourning, just worried is all. I do have to disagree that Obama is a moderate…his voting record in the Senate and the things he has pushed while in office indicate otherwise. You are right that time is flying!! So glad to have you and other friends who offer a different perspective 🙂

  3. John November 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    Ineptocracy – a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

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