I am so very glad that this election is over. And I am very glad that President Obama was re-elected, marriage equality prevailed in all four contests, and that our House and Senate are more diverse than ever. But there are a couple of things that happened that night that made me quite sad. First, I discovered that I was "unfriended" by three conservative friends on Facebook, and this was before I'd said anything about the election results. Second, I found out that students at my undergrad expressed their dismay at Obama's re-election by surrounding the campus' Minority Student Union house, while hurling firecrackers, bottles and racial epithets at the students inside of the house.
What makes me sad about these reactions to Obama's re-election is that I know that if the situations were reversed, I, nor the students in the MSU house, would have reacted similarly. It was an election. Yes, I am a strong supporter of Obama, and with good reason. But, I would not have started dismissing my conservative friends or hurling invectives at them, if Romney had prevailed. There's no point to that. The nation will survive any one leader at the helm. It has since it's founding, and even at its lowest point, during the Civil War.
I find it so fascinating that Obama's ascension has inflamed such passions from his political opponents, passions that I find deeper than those that George W. Bush experienced, and he has some passionate political opponents. I've wondered if what Obama represents, a "new America," is at the heart of the enmity. If you look at the coalition of Americans that voted for Obama this year, you would find an extremely diverse group of folks. For years, I've been asking why it seems that the various minority groups are consistently on the other side of the aisle from white conservatives? What is it about conservative positions that so many find untenable? Too often, the answers given, if the question is even addressed, is a mish-mash of a desire for "socialism," not "understanding" America, or simply a desire to take "hand outs." Those are stupid answers, and they avoid the substance of the question.
Until the GOP can actually answer that question, then it will continue to find itself on the losing end of general elections. There are real paths that the GOP could take to begin selling, in an honest way, its ideas to racial, ethnic and sexual minorities. It isn't as though Romney didn't get ANY minority votes; he did. So, perhaps instead of getting mad and calling names, and saying that your political opponents are "idiots," "un-American," "moochers," "takers" or whatever mean thing that comes to mind, maybe, just maybe, it's time to sort out what could appeal to the people who don't support the GOP agenda and build on that. Unfortunately, that will take a great deal of work, and if the end goal is to return to the "golden age" of the late 1950s, then the GOP will have lost, before it's even begun. And "un-friending" liberal friends seems like an admission that there is an unwillingness even to ask why we have differences.