I wasn’t sure I wanted to write this post. I alluded to it earlier, my concern about reaction there in Suburbia to the election of Barack Obama. And I’ve been thinking about how to best capture those concerns in this forum. For a while, I thought I wouldn’t write it, that I’d just let it go like I’ve been letting the comments I overhear go. Mostly without response.
But then the gun show came to town. And I went to church. Hmm…guns and religion…so, you can see how those two things force the issue, right? First, I read the article in today’s newspaper about the record attendance at this weekend’s gun show. Because everyone better buy their guns now before Obama single-handedly takes them away. Never mind the fact that he’s on the record as supporting individual gun ownership and hunting rights.
Gun show headline fresh on my mind, I walked into my Sunday school class only to hear a classmate’s commentary about how our republic is due to come to an end anyway, having been around for over 200 years. Yes, that’s right. The election of Barack Obama signals the end of the United States as we know it. And I didn’t respond the way I would have like to. Though others in our group also supported Obama, we’re in the minority, and I have no need to argue with those who didn’t, particularly in class.
So I just said something rather bland about how I was pleased about the election, and we moved on. But what I wanted to ask was, “Exactly what are you afraid will happen? That we’ll get into an unprovoked war and lose thousands of American lives? That our economy will completely break down?” What is it that a Democratic administration is likely to do to top those things already brought to us courtesy of George W. Bush?
And the saddest part of the whole thing is that I truly believe much of this reaction comes from Obama’s “differentness.” As historic as the election of the first African-American president is, as wonderful as it is that millions of Americans overcame historic prejudices to select him, the fact that he is Black makes it easier to rally people far past simple disagreement with his positions and toward true fear and hatred. Like Mrs. Obama, I find it hard to understand the motivation for this.
Beyond the small mindedness locally, though, I find comfort from some surprising sources. John McCain’s concession speech truly reflected his character, and I hope that those who voted for him will heed his call for unity.
I also have to give President Bush credit for his graceful handling of the transition. His comments to the press regarding Obama’s election, his instructions to his staff regarding his desire for a prank-free turnover, and his invitation for the Obamas to visit the White House this week are impressive.
And whatever your opinion about the outcome of the election, what is even more impressive is our country’s ability to achieve a peaceful transition of power. Over and over again. From conservative Republican to liberal Democrat, on January 20th change will come to America, and it will come without violence, and, fortunately, this time without even a court case.
And in the meantime, I can’t think of a better way to end this post than with the words of John McCain. Because it’s time to put fear aside and get to work.
I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together. Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. ~John McCain