Wednesday, November 5

Wildly Conflicted

It's over. It's just begun. Overjoyed. Filled with trepidation. Hopeful. Hateful.

As I read some of the articles and blogs, and then the posted comments to the articles and blogs, I'm amazed by the degree of venom spewing from both sides. The Dems seem to hate the GOP and all it represents and the Republicans seem to think Obama and the his Democratic coterie will lead the country to socialism.

So the election is over but a new era has just begun. The United States has elected a biracial man for its president. That is historic and a new era. That the man is a relatively inexperienced former freshman Senator will inform his presidency as will the apparent fact that he is a thoughtful individual who works hard to build consensus, who seems calm under fire, and who seems to surround himself with individuals who are also thoughtful, intelligent, and not given to wild extremes. But rhetoric about leadership is not leadership. President-elect Obama did not give us much to review in terms of his political chops. After all, he barely served his freshman (as in first) term in the Senate.

Obama speaks of change and one of the first things I think he has to do is change the way he talks about and to Republicans. If he wants to lead by example, it will be up to him to stop the demonizing and villification of all things Republican. I've heard he plans to have a Republican on his Cabinet. Tokenism already? An attempt to extend the olive branch?

If the hateful diatribes are to begin to subside--and they will not completely because some people seem compelled to be hateful--Obama and his team cannot, must not gloat. And neither should a single Democrat. There must be no political pillaging by the victor. Instead, every single Democratic elected official--if we're talking about real change--will push hard for campaign and political reform by eliminating political action committees and lobbyists, but most importantly, they will treat their Republican colleagues and their Republican constituents with respect and dignity.

The Democrats absolutely must not engage in a single bit of unilateral action; they must work very hard to include the tattered remnants of the Republican party in all discussions. This is a political reparation, I think. How fitting it is to be led by a man of color.