I woke up this morning so proud to be an American. I am welling up with pride for our country. I am so proud of African Americans turning out the vote in the same numbers they did in 2008. And I'm proud to be an American in this really transitional time in our country. I am confident history will look back at Barack Obama as one of the best presidents our nation has ever had. He represents the people of America's tomorrow - equal rights for all people, a safety net for people in crisis, health care for all, and yes higher taxes for people who can afford to pay. Romney had the ridiculous "binders full of women" while Obama had the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as his first piece of legislation as President. No comparison.
And yes, Obama has helped turn the economy around from the Bush years, even though these things take time. If Romney had won - as Robert Creamer pointed out in a smart HuffPo commentary - it would have been described as a "Romney miracle." Now the Obama administration can show once and for all that the President's methods of turning around the crappy policies of the Bush era can and do work -- and let us never forget the clear fact that Clinton had a surplus and Bush created the deficit, not Obama. You can't just scrap everything a previous president did overnight. America is a big ship and it takes time to turn her, to avoid hitting the iceberg. We have done so, and God willing, can now continue to thrive and move into safer waters.
On election night, I was at a friend's house watching the election results, playing an election drinking game - though we could barely hear the newscasters over the din of our own laughter and chatter. We were convinced Diane Sawyer was on something as she slurred her speech and slouched in her seat - bless her heart - and we threw our hands up in the air wondering how networks call a state for a candidate with confidence with less than 1% of precincts reporting (I still am mostly at a loss on that one). My friend Stef made me laugh so hard at her snarky comments about Republicans getting all excited when it looks like so much of the country is "red" on the electoral map, but "No one lives there!" and laughed when Lester Holt on NBC News seemed a little too happy when announcing that recreational marijuana use was legalized in Colorado. "Lester Holt smokes weed!" she said, and I about died laughing.
When I said, "Women are really coming out strong for Obama over Romney this election," she quipped, "Yea, cuz they don't want their rights taken away. Or sister-wives." And in the analysis of what went down, women did prove decisive in this election - along with minorities. Women overwhelmingly went for Obama by a 20-something percent margin. Many women - myself included - were disgusted by the brash and insensitive way so many white Republican men discussed and dismissed rape, and used abortion in rape cases as a talking point. Bad move. As a rape victim - no, a rape survivor - I find their statements appalling, Neanderthal, and just plain sick, and I am glad America kicked all of those candidates out of Congress. And the Senate added 5 female Senators, including the first openly gay woman, bringing a record number of 20 women Senators. Go women! We are a force to be reckoned with, as we well should be, yet we are still struggling against a white-male status quo (if you doubt this - reread the obnoxious statements by "Team Rape" - all a bunch of white male candidates.
But this election isn't about who we voted out, it's about who we elected in, to continue leading us, and hopefully with an even stronger push for the initiatives I believe Obama wanted to do from the outset, but might have affected his re-election chances - fighting for climate change legislation, immigration reform, environmental protection, and other issues important to social progressives. Robert Creamer wrote the most moving summary I have yet read: 6 Reasons Why the 2012 Election will be Considered Historic.
"It presented Americans with the clearest choice in my lifetime between traditional progressive American values -- a vision of a society where we are all in this together on the one hand -- and a vision of a society in which everyone looks out first and foremost for himself alone on the other....Mitt Romney offered America an opportunity to choose values and leaders that were committed to the radical individualism espoused by his running-mate, Ayn Rand disciple Paul Ryan. America said no."
He also made the point that this is likely the last election that the Republican party can turn its backs on ethnic minorities and gays - not to mention women - because America's values are shifting.
"The Right made a desperate last ditch attempt to turn the tide in the "culture war" -- on equality for gays and lesbians, on the right of women to control their own bodies, on women's equal status in America's work places and society at large. They failed. Their positions on rape, contraception and abortion cost them dearly among women. In referenda this fall, the forces favoring marriage equality won in four out of four states....The outcome of this election demonstrated that as the millennial generation grows in number in the electorate, it will most likely be impossible for any candidate to win the presidency who wants to take American social policy back to the 1950's."
Creamer also mentions the reasons why minorities were so key in this election. I personally had a hunch that African Americans would get out and vote for Obama again because - and I hope this doesn't offend anyone - they wanted to continue the era of having a black President. I am lily white but I feel the same damn way. I am so proud of our country for electing Barack Hussein Obama in 2008 and couldn't be more proud to have him re-elected in 2012. And my support for him is not because of the color of his skin but because I believe in what he stands for and his policies, but I have to say that I am so proud of how far we have come in our country that a man with his name, and his skin color, is now the President for another 4 years. Booya! Creamer adds:
"It turned out that African-American voters were every bit as enthusiastic about re-electing President Obama as they were about electing him in the first place. He carried African-American voters 96 percent to 4 percent -- and they turned out at the same levels they had in 2008.... Obama won Hispanic voters by 44 percent -- 72 percent Obama to 28 percent Romney. ... Republicans like to delude themselves that many Hispanics are "conservative." While many are very religious and have strong commitments to family, the polling shows that Hispanic voters believe in a society where everyone has each other's back -- a society like a family -- where government plays an integral role."
I also want to add in a quote by Howard Fineman, another HuffPo commentary.
"[This is] Not a Status Quo Election. Sure, the numerical line-up didn't change much: a Democratic president, a narrowly Democratic Senate and a Republican-led House. But under the circumstances, the results made an extraordinary statement about commitment to change: in health care (Obamacare), in taxes (a push to raise rates on the wealthy), on environmental action and for activist government. The vote was an expression of hope for more change in the future, along the lines of what the president has done so far."
I stayed up until Romney had offered his gracious concession speech, and then even later to see Obama's victory speech. And if you haven't watched Obama's 2am speech, I highly recommend it. If you are on the other side, and believe that this is a tragedy, all I can say is: get a grip. Read this: Presidential Election: “Sad and Tragic Day for Our Nation”.
And if you're still in denial about how America could vote for Obama after watching Fox News all the time, here's a hint: Change the channel and get some real news. Fox is not news. And Jon Stewart made the racism it spews abundantly - and hilariously - clear on last night's show "Avalanche on Bullshit Mountain." Fox puts out the message that Dems are just a bunch of minorities on the take. Not only is that a huge lie, it's downright offensive to people like me, a hard working single mom who will benefit from ObamaCare. Not only that, most of the social reforms in our nation - social welfare, food stamps, Medicaid - were passed long before Obama came around. All Fox and conservative media consumers should get their heads out of the sand and read this: How Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File.
I absolutely love the Jon Stewart showing footage of Fox newscaster Megyn Kelly calling Karl Rove on his denial after Fox News had actually named Obama as President. Priceless! She said: "Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better, or is this real?" Laughing so hard! Stewart thinks that is a much better slogan than the one they have now: "Math you do as a Republican to Make Yourself Feel Better" - hahaha! He also makes a cogent case for Fox being blatantly racist, with Palin and O'Reilly saying we are a country of minorities and a country of people who "want stuff." Really? I as the first generation to go to college, and the success of my children, are products of the welfare system. More on that in an upcoming post.