It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens.
—-George Washington’s Letter to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island
I went to bed late, but woke up early because I can’t believe it, but it’s true: America just elected a black man named Barack Obama under a deluge of rumors that he was a secret Muslim, a terrorist sympathizer, a socialist, a baby-killer, and that he and his wife were secret dissidents that planned to dismantle the country. And America said, “Fuck that bullshit.” I’m proud of us today, even though I suspect backsliding will happen pretty quickly. (In fact, we backslid in the same election with the Prop 8 vote.) But even when we regress to the mean, it will have moved an inch closer to not just tolerance, but towards the goal that Washington laid out for us in 1790: giving bigotry no sanction.
But even though you should give bigotry no sanction, I suggest enjoying your schadenfreude before this sinks in. Michelle Malkin is the best—her choice of metaphor for “surviving” their improved tax status and perhaps even getting universal health care is “gird your loins“. That tells you everything you really need to know about the wingnut mentality, that it’s fueled by a basic and irrational fear of emasculation. She has a list of goals for conservatives, and it amounts to, “Make the rich richer at the expense of everyone else, fuck your fellow citizens, fuck the union, and basically punish the country for thwarting the entitled piss-ants that make up the tatters of the conservative movement.”
The ugly news is that conservatives are good at yelling loud and yelling long. They are good at destroying, because they don’t get distracted (as liberals do) by the need to create and improve. What this will do is make the Obama White House and our stronghold Democratic Congress think this country leans more to the right than it does, and they will be more cautious than they need to be. Unless we do our job, which is to stay on their asses. Let them know that we support liberal policies and that we want measures that will actually help the poor and middle class of this country during this economic crisis. Let them know that we don’t want to sacrifice tomorrow to make today a smidgen more comfortable. We shouldn’t be complacent, but willing to gripe and pressure and fight. In fact, Obama dared us to in his speech.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand……
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
Can we ride the ass of a man that we’ve put so much hope into for all these months? Yes we can.
Can we do our part in setting the agenda for an Obama administration? Yes we can.
Priorities, as I see them:
1) An economic package that revives the goals of the New Deal of patching up our economy by investing in the poor and the middle class and building infrastructure.
2) Universal health care.
3) Signing the Kyoto treaty and going 10 steps further to actually fight global warming. Tie this goal with goal #1 and create a 21st century WPA-style federal program that would build the infrastructure for clean energy and energy independence—yep, wind farms and solar panels.
4) Appointing Supreme Court judges that are liberal and young enough to hang in there with the likes of Roberts and Alito.
5) Reversing the Patriot Act, shutting down Gitmo and generally returning to a status of respecting human rights.
6) Getting out of Iraq.
7) Passing the Freedom of Choice Act to protect abortion rights and push back against the incrementalism strategy.
Barack Obama has promised us that he would get us out of Iraq in 16 months and that he would invest $15 billion a year in clean energy. Can we hold him to these promises? Yes we can.
I keep tearing up. It really happened. And it was an ass-whupping.