mob rule

In the small hours after the acceptance speech, I was reading – very anxiously – the Conservative blogosphere. I do this occasionally to get out of my echo chamber. Liz does it in a much more disciplined and organized way, and while I’d like to emulate that, mostly it upsets me too much. Anyway I followed a link to this one guy’s blog and now I can’t find it again and don’t want to wade back through all those comments, but –

His point was that he was extremely sad about the result, and cynical about an Obama administration, but grateful about and awed by the peaceful transfer of power. I remembered that that was my only real shred of comfort in the wake of the Democratic losses in 2000 and 2004. What a grown-up thing! Bitter partisans accepting the other side’s triumph!

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that this is democracy. We liberals want to be all yay! Vindicated! Take that Dubya and whatever, but Obama’s victory is only partly that, and partly a manifestation of this nation’s innate desire to change things up every eight to twelve years. That honest grief I felt for Gore and Kerry? I know McCain’s supporters feel that way now. I can see it in their faces. I can remember every pang of sorrow. I wish them only peace. It’s why Obama urges no high-fives, no triumphalism. It’s the United States.

This is the price of democracy: that committed, political people will, half the time, have their hearts smashed to bits. Every few years we open executive power up for debate, and sometimes the other guys win, and then we mourn and rage and say it’s gonna be the end of the world. But the alternative is to have the same guy in power for ever and ever and that is MUCH, much worse.

This is democracy! It’s a chance for the disenfranchised to take the mike. And in four or eight or twelve years? We’re gonna have to give it back. That’s the deal. It’s this or a dictatorship.

It’s easy to say it right now, with my guy having just won, so remind me of this next time us liberals are out in the cold: I say it is worth it. I will endure the grief of loss ten times over before I will deny anyone else the right to vote for their candidate ahead of mine.

Abe Lincoln (who totally supported my guy) put it like this:

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic cords of memory will swell when again touched as surely they will be by the better angels of our nature.

And Ze Frank is saying it with Tubes.

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