Notes from the Perimeter

Friday, November 14, 2008

Winners & Losers

When the election was finally called on that unforgettable Tuesday night, millions of us danced in the streets, cried with those for whom this event was a veritable miracle of hope and healing, and generally allowed ourselves for a brief spell to indulge in a celebration that was joyful and innocent of the grim realities that await our new president. Yeah baby, winning feels great. However, I want to take a few moments to address some of you for whom things didn’t turn out as you’d hoped. Here are a few notes of sympathy and thanks.

Dear John McCain: I’m sorry for your loss. Actually, I’m not sorry a bit but I can say that I’m finding it hard to despise you as I once so heartily did. Your gracious concession speech reminded me of the old you: the stalwart warrior, the independent guy who wasn’t afraid to tilt at windmills when you felt the cause was right. I’m afraid ‘afraid’ is the operative word here: you just got old and afraid, didn’t you, and your fear overwhelmed your judgment and totally whacked your moral compass. You lent your soul to Dark Forces who tempted you with visions of victory and whispered sweet flattery to an eagerly listening ego still chafing from the defeat of eight years ago. You mortgaged your integrity and learned firsthand how risky lending practices can lead to catastrophic failure. Now, at least, you’re reclaiming your Mac-ness, and I hope that’s some small consolation.

Dear Sarah Palin: I will miss you. Truly I will. I’ll miss the woman who is “undecided” about whether dinosaurs roamed the earth along with the Egyptian pharaohs. I’ll miss the shopper extraordinaire who parlayed a directive to buy “three suits” into a spree that cost way over $150,000 and snagged your Dude a new $20,000 wardrobe. So many times you’ve given me a smile when I needed it, like when I read the report that you thought Africa was a country, not a continent (hey, when the issue was first raised you didn't deny it!), and you couldn’t name the three countries in NAFTA—Canada (can see it from Alaska), USA (can see it from Alaska) and Mexico. I will miss your uncanny ability to embody what is most wrong about the far right. Most of all I’ll miss your unintended wit. When asked on the day after the election if you were contemplating a run for president the next time around, you replied, “2012 feels like several years away.” Oh Sarah, nobody could make you up.

Dear Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis, Tucker Eskew, Nicolle Wallace, and other members of the McCain campaign team: I want to thank you all. You have demonstrated that ultimately dirty tricks don’t work. You have restored my faith in the ability of the American people to resist manipulation, intuit the truth even when it’s half-buried by lies, and reject slander, innuendo, and plain old viciousness. In Sarah Palin you recreated your own image as she abandoned any attempt at thoughtful discourse and took to your strategy of hate-mongering with undisguised gusto. Nor do I give John McCain a pass since he bought into your tactics. However, you did turn a basically decent guy into a fraud and a hypocrite, however reluctant. I sincerely hope you all get exactly what you deserve.

Dear Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and others of your ilk: I send you my condolences. As I was doing my best to slog through your various vitriolic postings on the day after the election, trying to find a phrase that would sum up my reaction to your pigheadedness and refusal even for a second to see something transcendent in what had transpired (to her everlasting credit, even Elizabeth Hasselbeck was moved by the experience), I decided I can best express myself by recounting an experience that Houston friends recently had. After they bought their house, they noticed some worrisome symptoms in the area surrounding their swimming pool. They called in a pool guy who walked the perimeter, poked and prodded. Finally, he turned to them, shook his head and said, “I feel sorry for y’all, I really do.”

Dear Republican friends: I don’t know what to say. I told you so? No. Better luck next time? No way! However, I can imagine your pain. If Obama had lost on Tuesday I would have felt dismay and disenfranchisement, and worry that the things I care about are not the things “they” care about. To the winners belong the spoils but with the rewards comes responsibility. Delirious delight is the flip side of despair and the pendulum continues to swing.

So, to my Republican friends I say: Come on in. The welcome is warm in here. We might be feverish with joy but we’re also warmed by hope and we feel like our guy can deliver, not just to us but for you, too. Come on in. Unless you’re still ranting about Obama being “anti-American,” in which case you’re not my friend, then I think you’ll find that our visions for this country aren’t so far apart. The days are growing short, the frost is on the pumpkin, and there’s work to be done. Come in. It’s cold out there but we have a place for you by the fire.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008