I've recently been finding, from both right and left, altogether too many references to Guy Fawkes Day: "remember, remember, the fifth of November, . . ." about tyranny and bloody revolution, the Gunpowder Plot, the movie "V" etc. All of which suggests that no matter who won the presidential election or by how much, on the next day almost half of the United States was going to feel angry and resentful.
Well, today is the Fifth of November and all is quiet here, so far. Even Ann Coulter sounded restrained this morning.
I still expect the Bushies to incite the military into further attacks on Syria and Pakistan, and try to start something in Iran. (The Obsession DVD mailed to millions was the largest propaganda effort for war.) I still expect more Bush appointees to burrow their way, like trichinosis, into permanent positions in the government. I still expect disasterous de- and re-regulation in the EPA, Food and Drug, Homeland Security, and all other protective and guardian agencies that have been amBushed in the last eight years. I expect the stalwarts of the Project for a New American Century (of which McCain and Cheney were leaders) to mine and boobytrap anything in government and the economy that they can't outright destroy in the next two months.
Had McCain won as resoundingly as Obama did, I would probably be contemplating my own plot, though without the gunpowder.
This election shows, much more than who won or lost, that we are still a deeply divided nation. I said after the last two presidential elections and I say again: we are not the people we think we are.
I say to Democrats now, try to be kind to each other. Do not radiate triumphalism or entitlement or disparagement or distaste. Do not gloat. Help your neighbor quietly, and speak encouragingly of all efforts to make things better. Take your lead from Obama and be respectful, gracious, understanding, and aware that at this time both joy are resentment are hateful to many. Do not presume. Celebrate quietly for what has been gained. Mourn quietly for what has been lost and what may yet be lost. Nothing is guaranteed or certain.
We must take a lesson from the Bushies on how not to behave. Try to be the people we would want our conquerors to be. Some day they will surely conquer and rule over us. What model of behavior will they follow; what model will we have left for them? The longer that Obama's people and successors are worthy: kind, generous, respectful, intelligent -- for that long will we be allowed to lead.