Many people turned their anger toward the government after the elections of George W. Bush, so this year’s post-election anger against Obama is not a new thing. But the anger feels more vicious, both before and after the election. Hanging Obama in effigy in Duluth and Rochester does not a proud Minnesotan make.
After Florida handed him the election, I can’t tell you how many times I heard giddy Bush supporters say, “You lost; just get over it.” It doesn’t appear that it will be any easier this time around.
In an incident of post-election anger, an Arizona woman critically injured her husband with her SUV because he wasn’t an enthusiastic enough of a Republican and failed to vote. Last night I was at author Sherman Alexie’s book reading. During the Q & A that followed, he made note of the college kids who had posted vicious racist remarks online that were aimed at Obama following his re-election. He warned the youth in the audience that an electronic trail could follow years down the road to that place in an office interview when you are questioned about your vicious racist attacks from November 2012. Not to mention that these kinds of attacks are uncivil and just plain wrong.
Since the election, I have received several ugly Facebook posts from people who expressed their anger and outrage at the outcome of the election. I deduced that, like the Romney campaign itself, most of his supporters just never expected to lose.
One cousin posted her rage about the outcome of the election and concluded with, “I hate my government!”
Here is where I have to take issue. Where is all that anti-government sentiment directed? Do you mean that you hate the federal government workers at the post office — the ones who make house calls six days a week to deliver your mail? Do you hate those other federal government employees, like your own son who is called a soldier and protects your country? Of course you don’t.
Do you hate these parts of your government: the county workers who plow your roads and fix your bridges and highways? How about all state government employees? Do you hate the teachers who educate your children in the public schools? Do you hate the prison guards, both state and federal, who protect society from the criminal element? Maybe it is the city government employees that you hate, such as the police and firemen. Do you hate your city librarian?
I could go on forever but I think I have made my point. These people are “your government.” The fact that you voted as a citizen makes you a part of “your government.” However, I don’t think it is your government that you really hate. I would say you hate the representatives of our government that are not bidding your will — specifically members of the opposite party. Unfortunately, most of us do.
The negative tones of the opposing campaigns have only amplified our great division. We must get over that. We are all in this together and until our country begins to work for the common good instead of looking down the road at the next election, then our country will remain in this quagmire.
We can start by being civil to each other and stop the name-calling. Tone down the anger. Consider there were just as many voters upset about Bush’s re-election as there are now about Obama getting a second term. And we all lived through those years, as we will live through these.
Republicans can no longer carry the mantra of making sure Obama is a one-term president. Democrats can no longer blame the past administration for the economic disaster or continue to call it Bush’s War. Our future is now in both parties’ hands and Congress and the president need to be held accountable. Going forward only works if we do this together, politicians and citizens alike. The alternative is unacceptable. Leave your egos at the door and let’s get to work.