Yesterday I was a big pregnant ball of nervous energy, where normally I am a big pregnant ball of lethargic chub, and I spent the day putting up laundry and trying to distract myself from the election. I even picked up a night shift to further distract myself, and I spent the entire night stress-eating Tootsie Rolls, hanging out at the bar watching the results come in, and talking with a few of my customers about their own nerves. There was a guy at the bar named Dave, who was probably in his 50s, and we got to talking about the Reagan era, which I was alive for but very small. Dave had voted for Romney but admitted he wouldn’t be heartbroken if Obama ended up being re-elected. It was nice to talk with someone who wasn’t a complete nutter. It feels like this campaign was chock full of nutters, on both sides.
By the time I left work Obama had clearly won, and when I got home I watched both his and Romney’s speeches, and then today I had a chance to assess everything else, such as the various props, Congress, etc. Can I just say how proud I am to be an American? For months we’ve been bombarded with the most ridiculous stunts, from the Chick-Fil-A debacle to Tea Party members trying to redefine rape to a campaign built pretty much entirely on lies (Romney’s, in case that wasn’t obvious). I’ve been pretty pissed, stressed, and anguished over willful ignorance, the media circus, and pretty much the entire two-party system.
But today I felt amazing. Human beings won big last night, and so did human rights. Three states voted in favor of marriage equality, all of the rape apologists were defeated, and there are a historic number of women serving in the next Senate – just to name a few things. This gives me enormous hope for our nation.
I feel more conflicted about Obama’s re-election.
I cannot say how thrilled I am that Romney did not win the Presidency. My major problem with Romney is that I could never get a feel for who he was or what he stood for. He was often wishy-washy and sometimes seemed to have multiple personalities, none of which were likable. He seems like a smarter version of George W. Bush, a mere puppet for whatever his party wanted him to be, and desperately ambitious, so much so that his campaign was extremely painful to watch. The amount of lying he did was completely unacceptable and infuriating.
I did vote for Obama, and I’m happy he won, but I’m also cautious. If you can slide beneath all the ridiculous rhetoric spewed by Fox News and parroted by its viewers, you can see that Obama has done some troubling things, things that don’t make him a Nazi (as many people seem fond of calling him) but that I still can’t support. I will be watching him very closely over the next four years with the hope that I didn’t cast my vote in error. If there’s anything that this election made clear to me, it’s that the American people want more options. I’d like more options, too, and I plan on doing lots of reading about various political and historical issues – because I have a lot to learn. I also plan on actually acting on my convictions – volunteering and giving of whatever resources I have. I want to make a difference, even if it’s just a small one; I don’t want to be an inactivist where I just share things on Facebook and talk about what I believe – I want to be the change I want to see in the world.
These are the conclusions I came to today, as I morphed back into a big pregnant ball of lethargic chub and laid around the house, mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted from yesterday. I’m thrilled about most of the results of the 2012 election, truly, and I am also thrilled that this particularly nasty election season is over. It’s time for all of us to get to work. The only way to go is forward.