Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Victorious President Obama and The Critical Mom

"I saw Mommy vote!" said my eight-year-old, remembering me laboriously filling out the ellipsis in black, putting the paper ballot inside an envelope and that envelope inside a mailing envelope--and I hope it got there and was counted.   My vote for Obama was predicated on hope, not absolute faith.  But Romney's concession solidified my sense of having cast the right vote:  he remained cold and formulaic, with a revolting touch of sentimentality, namely that his wife "woulda made a great first lady."  Sentimentality, Oscar Wilde remarked, is the bank holiday of cynicism, and the District of Columbia recognized this, voting overwhelmingly for Obama.  I thought back to John McCain's concession four years ago, so heartfelt and sincere:  "He is my president," he said.  The concession speech is invariably revealing, because it's delivered under unimaginable pressures, and the grace of John McCain's speech broadcast his character--a man who believed what he was saying and fought for it with all his energy--a man I could respect, although I'd never vote for him.  Had Romney won, America might never have had a chance to recover from disastrously oligarchic--nah, plutocratic--tendencies fueled by the Reagan administration and pumped up by the Bush dynasty.  It could have been even worse.  What if Rick Santorum  had stayed in the race?  We might have ended up with a dystopia straight out of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale--in which women are deprived of the right to earn or keep money, or even to learn to read, and are designated asexual wives or raped handmaids.  Now, with a still-young leader whose sense of honor carries the day, perhaps there's hope.  But the utter division of the country--the nearly fifty-fifty split--bodes no good.  My husband and I were up at 3:30 a.m. German time, imagining that we'd know for sure by then.  No dice.  Wolf Blitzer was hoarsely delivering an analysis of a Florida poll as a 49% lead for Obama clicked--at that moment--into a 50% lead for Romney.  "Whoa!" said Blitzer, whose sly asides conceal not at all his enthusiasm for Romney's defeat:  "I'm not saying this to rain on Romney's parade," Blitzer zinged at one point.  By six a.m. German time we were no further ahead--it's only now, at 9:10 a.m. German time, that the numbers are finally settling into place and establishing how close an election we experienced.  
Now it's noon here, and I'm thinking back to the debates, and the way Democrats chewed their nails and made excuses like "Obama's not a debater--he's a great speaker!"  But what if the chilly remoteness we saw--they said he was "wooden," they said he was sleepy, they said the Denver altitude did him in--what if all that "woodenness" was strategy?  What if Obama's debate demeanor was his sly way of mirroring Romney's real attitude?  What if Obama wanted to say, "Okay, I have to stand up here and debate you, but I'm not going to engage with you because you're a fake.  Instead, I'll stand up here and mimic the way I know you feel about the American people instead."  Hey, maybe every move was calculated.  Maybe the October 15 New Yorker cover showing Romney debating to an empty lectern was broadcasting the message:  Obama's too busy running the country to take time out for an opportunist like you.
Last thoughts:  Loved the tweet asking:  "What's Herman Cain thinking now?"
P.S.  We should all celebrate by enjoying this video:


  1. Great post. I am one American who is glad it's over, though. Politicized, polarized people are not at their best and I grew a-weary of all the bile being spewed by BOTH sides.

    I voted for Obama so our country would not take a step backwards socially and culturally (I hate to think what would happen to gay people with Mitt R. as prez. Of course he'd probably make poor people into jerky and feed them to inmates of our overflowing prisons). Still, at the end of the day I agree with T. More's Utopia: Anyone who WANTS to be a politician should probably be disqualified from office.

  2. Yes . . . power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But I'm really amazed by the artificiality of Romney. And Herman Cain did tweet--sour grapes, of course: that Obama "won a popularity contest. Sad." For sulking Herman, I guess

  3. Yep, Obama NEVER lies or attempts to mislead people. Benghazi, UN gun treaty. No, he's a paragon of truth and honesty.

  4. Aw, come on. Are you? And what is truth? It is "one's last mood," to borrow one of Oscar Wilde's better insights. If, on the way to trying to protect us from terrorist attacks, he missed a place you think he should have protected--and which he wanted to protect--I'd say the guy cannot be in every single place all the time. As for the gun treaty--you're complaining? He's fast-tracking gun control. You don't like that? Okay, we're having a moment of disagreement on this one.
    To be in political office means to lie some of the time. It's part of the job description. I think his heart is in the right place, and that Romney's isn't.