I am SO HAPPY and relieved that Obama won re-election. I haven’t been into politics for quite awhile. I used to rant about it a lot on this blog awhile ago. But that fire has turned into a few smoldering embers at the bottom of the pit. On the eve before election day I suddenly felt very anxious at the very real possibility that Romney could actually be president. I did not like it. Not at all. Not after hearing him speak during the debates and realizing how completely out of touch he is with my hopes, dreams, and desires as an American.
So I chewed my nails down to the quick during election returns. When Obama won it felt like the biggest exhale ever. What a relief! I am so happy.
Unfortunately I quickly found out that there was a vast number of citizens who are not happy. Not at all. Not even close. There are tumblr blogs that are chronicling the tears of Romney supporters. News sites with lists of epic Conservative meltdowns. sigh.
The thing is that I know exactly how the other side feels. I felt exactly the same way 8 years ago. I had the same fears (except I was afraid we would go fascist) and I seriously considered moving to Canada. I even said some of the same words I am seeing conservatives using. So I feel compassion for them. It hurts badly when your team loses. Especially when there is so much emotion wrapped up in it.
But the fact of the matter is that we got through the last of the Bush years intact. We didn’t turn fascist, like I feared. We ended up pretty much o.k. as a nation. Maybe a little scarred but we are o.k.
I noticed that lots of the fear is rooted in the fear of our country becoming socialist. I am hearing conservatives say things like “We elected a Socialist president.” We did not elect a socialist president. Having Obama in office is not going to cause our country to become socialist. We will never, ever (in a million, trillion) years become a socialist nation. Ever. We are a capitalist country with some socialist philosophies and institutions. We will continue to stay that way. You know why? Because Americans, no matter what side of the fence we are on, like our choices. All of us do. I, personally, like that we have some government regulated institutions (like the public library for example). I would like to continue to have these institutions, as an American. I don’t want them taken away from me. Does having government-run institutions threaten capitalism? Absolutely not.
Anyway, just some post-election thoughts. I am happy that we have four more years of Obama. Very happy. I am sad that there are many people in this country who feel that we are divided because of it. I don’t want us to be divided. I want us to work together. We all want the same things, ultimately.
No deep thoughts running through my head today. Instead, here is an episode of Flickr Time Machine! This was not taken on October 4th. It was actually taken on October 2nd, 2008. However, I saw this photo and it triggered memories of the last Presidential Election. I took this photo on my way to the car at work. The library I worked at has beautiful, colorful trees in the fall and I took every opportunity to photograph them. I was anxious to get home that evening to watch the presidential debate between Obama and McCain, and that is what I was thinking about when I took this.
I felt moved to donate books to the OWS library. So I perused my shelves, looking for the right ones. These jumped out at me immediately. What could be more subversive than art, poetry, and writing? And I had to include the ukulele book because it has been established that it is the instrument of peace. May they find themselves in the hands of those who will enjoy them and not in the dumpsters of NYC.
Information on where to donate can be found on this post.
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how stoked I was that libraries are sprouting within the Occupy Movement, most notably, the Occupy Wall Street People’s Library. A couple of days ago the People’s Library was destroyed by NYC police officers at the order of Mayor Bloomberg.
NYC police destroyed a public library. Honestly, I don’t even know what to say. I am totally appalled that this is happening in America. This is a blatant, obvious, in-your-face repression of free speech.
Frankly I am too upset to write anything coherent. I think the actions of the NYC Police and Mayor Bloomberg speak for themselves. And I think, as Americans, we should all be appalled. Here are some really good blog posts I’ve found that explain the situation and sum up how I feel:
I am upset. You should be too. I want to do something but I don’t want to do anything out of anger. A Facebook friend mentioned that she is proud of the students for continuing to stay peaceful in the face of such brutality. I am proud of them, too. Watch the video to the end (I didn’t the first time). It is absolutely moving. Here are some really good blog posts that articulate what happens:
After a few days of staying away from the news and getting some distance from the horrible news story on Saturday, I’ve realized the answer to my question. It came as a result of watching this video:
Keith Olberman pretty much sums up everything I’ve been thinking about the situation very eloquently and succinctly. He says it much better than I ever could. Granted, it’s a little over the top, but still. The point is made.
There is a ubiquitous quote by Gandhi has almost become cliche, it’s quoted so often.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
It is a very profound statement.
I can only control what I do. I can’t control others. I can’t expect anything from others. All I can do is be the change. So I will.
However, am not a media personality. So my behavior isn’t going to have much of an impact on the media, really. But I am so happy to hear people like Keith Olberman, who is a media personality, come out and say that he isn’t going to participate in this violent rhetoric. That is a good step in the right direction.