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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What It Means from My Perspective

[originally posted by Just Wondering at Vim and Vinegar]

It's hard for me not to reflect on the 2004 election today. It's not a time to look backwards, but maybe that's the point. In many ways, I've taken a straight line from there to here.

Four years ago, I couldn't stop sobbing. I confess that today it has been tough to keep that lump out of my throat, but oh how different the emotion. Four years ago, to be perfectly trite, my heart was broken and my disappointment profound. I felt as if I had been crushed and ground into some sort of fine powder, waiting for the next strong wind to scatter me, or a soaking November rain to dissolve me completely.

The depth of my despair surprised me, and it awoke me to myself. It awoke to me to a fact that isn't easy for me to admit: I'm a believer.

I'm an idealist to my core, and for all my bluster, blow and toughness, that fact makes me vulnerable emotionally. However, maybe it's also what makes me incapable of surrender. That trait isn't always a plus, as I am learning. However, it's a trait that explains what has made me put myself back together on those occasions that the breath has left my body and, for a millisecond, I have felt no desire for it to re-enter. Obviously, now I am referring to far more grievous hurts than those sustained because of politics.

And yet, the 2004 election was a grievous loss. Then, my heart broke because I perceived something awful in the big picture: dishonesty and manipulation won out; there was no meritocracy (for me, intelligence and honor were perverted, not rewarded); there was no respect or even room for dissent. The "ideological food fight" (Tom Brokaw's words) had been perpetuated. At that point, I considered giving up. I considered turning away. As soon as I considered it, I rejected it. I invited my will, my "breath," to re-enter my body and my sadness and anger renewed me somehow. That's when, some of you may recall, I fired off that 2:00 a.m. email, an email that was a preview to [Vim and Vinegar, my blog], as it turned out.

Now that the outcome I thought was absolutely crucial has happened, I hope that I will not blindly follow an ideology or a leader to the detriment of the good of the nation. This long fight was an emotional one and a sincere one. I would be the worst kind of hypocrite if I didn't encourage and entertain reasonable dissent. However, it should come as no surprise that I won't be disposed to casual criticism of the next administration. We have won sacred and scarred ground, and I will certainly not yield it to the belligerent, the irrational, or the cruel.

So argue with your neighbors about what is right and what is good and what is practical. But know this: the days of pretending that there is an infinite list of things about which reasonable minds can credibly disagree have passed. This election proves it.
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