It has been an unbelievable past few days and I wish I were referring to Obama becoming our future 44th President. Nope. It’s been unbelievable because I have found myself in the strange position of reminding people what was so bad about the past eight years. Really? I have to do that? Suddenly, everyone’s getting homesick for the worst President in the history of our Country. Really?
I do not have the enviable position of living in an undivided state. And because of this, I have been surprised and amazed by the reaction to Obama winning, handsomely I might add. I can only liken it to the day after a fierce football rivalry where the victory went to the other team. It’s been petty and bitter. Most of it has been on the economy, as if Obama will somehow get us into a worse mess. The spread the wealth mentality has not gone over well. I guess we would rather see our taxes go overseas to fund shabby armor for some kid who is fighting a war that has no purpose.
On the night of the election, I put my hands on my 10-year-old son’s shoulders and I looked him straight in the eyes and I said, “I did not vote for myself today, I voted for you.” It was not meant to be a dramatic exclamation point to the day's events; I just wanted him to know the truth. Because the truth is, I have never voted for myself in any election. I have voted for greater causes that usually did not affect my day-to-day life. So when I’m asked “has the past eight years been so terrible to me” I have to answer no. Not to me. But it sure as hell has taken a toll on our Country. And if we were to stay on this track, I would be passing on mistakes to my children and that is something I cannot live with.
I have been successful in life and in my job not because of George W. Bush or his administration, but because of myself. I work damn hard and in the land of opportunity, I should find success. And it would be wrong of me to vote for more of the same because I was happy with my paycheck. It would be wrong for me to be okay with a government that has taken away civil liberties such as Habeas Corpus with the Military Commissions Act. That has acted as God in deciding Terry Shiavo’s fate. That has stopped Stem Cell research and set us back decades. That continues to pump $10 billion a month into the Iraq war. That ran an election on whether it was right for people of the same sex to share the same legal bond as my wife and me. That held a private energy meeting with the heads of big oil and refused to reveal its outcome. That continued to promise tax refunds while our deficit grew larger and larger. After eight years of this mess, how someone could make this election about himself or herself is unconscionable to me.
I am an idealist in the worst way. And because of this, I don’t understand why anyone would long for the past eight years. Would take comfort in it. Would want more of it. Have we set the bar so low for our highest office? Are we so upset that we have elected a man who wants to inject hope into America, rather than fear? Are we so upset that we have put a man into office that can successfully complete a sentence? It would be easy for me not to care. To let my paycheck be the ultimate judge. To not look past the nose on my face. But I can’t and I won’t. Thankfully, neither did a lot of us.
And our Country will be better for it.