Friday, November 7, 2008

President-Elect Obama

Woo-hoo! I was so relieved that he won, and by such a large margin. The celebrations since Tuesday have been very moving, and it is indeed a wonderful milestone. Some day in the future I hope we will pass other milestones, like the first female president, the first Native American president, the first gay president, the first athiest president, the first Muslim president, the first disabled president who openly admits it unlike FDR, etc. But only if those people are the right candidates for their time, of course. They must be qualified first, and then I must agree with their policies too, before I'd vote for them. Like, no way would I blindly vote for Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Condoleezza Rice, just 'cause I'm a woman. And we must all remember that we didn't elect Obama just to have a national feel-good moment to "erase" slavery. We're still in deep trouble, and we still need to stay very involved in government; apathy and inattention will get us nowhere in overcoming our multiple crises.

I'm especially proud because Obama proved that a smart guy can win on substance, not on stupid crap like flag pins. Republicans would say all the time that he was only relying on style and hype, but he told us specific, substantive policies over and over--in his speeches, on his website, and in his TV ads all the way up to the final "infomercial." Obama ran a clean issues-based campaign instead of resorting to distractions and attacks on character. And his "hope" message was not empty rhetoric; it was a hope that grassroots movements could conquer entrenched political machines. Without hope, you can't get the cynics and the demoralized to come out and participate; without hope, you can't get people motivated to fight. I'm glad Obama was smart enough to realize that. He is not the movement; we are. We just gotta keep the movement going beyond the election.

I'm also glad that Obama improved on Kerry's performance here in Texas, even though overall we do remain red. I'm sad that Rick Noriega didn't defeat Cornyn, though, and very disappointed by the passage of Prop 8 in California. I had hoped that the country's changing attitudes, and California's liberalism, might have meant that the state was ready for marriage equality, but sadly, not yet. We'll have to keep working on this civil rights issue, with or without federal help.

Meanwhile, now that the election is over, Daily Kos is frustrating me with their hysteria and viciousness again. This is why I keep lurking there and not joining. On one hand, they keep me informed about runoff elections, and have great posts like this one about future trends in OK and TX. But at the same time, they keep sniping at each other about Obama's pick for Chief of Staff, going back and forth with "Shut up, you negative guys!" and "Don't tell me to shut up! You're censoring me, you Obama Kool-Aid drinker!" Every few weeks it seems like this same fight repeats there, taking up two or more recommended diaries, spots that could go to far worthier diaries. So why can't these Kossacks get some perspective and stop focusing on themselves? I feel like saying, "Can't you guys be content for one full week after the election? Can't you give Obama some breathing room, and cut him some slack? He hasn't even had time to go to his grandma's funeral yet."

Besides, he's not even in fucking office right now. He's in fucking transition. Heck, I don't agree with Obama on gay marriage (vs. civil unions), clean coal, FISA, blanket support for Israel (at the expense of Palestinians), and plenty of other issues. But I'm not a one-issue voter, and no one should be. I'll get on his case when he does something in office that I don't like. But not when he doesn't even have real control yet. Can't the netroots just concentrate right now on blasting the Republican spin, and doing fundraising?

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