My friend Matthew left a thoughtful post about the "joyful shock" felt at President-elect Obama's victory, and the tough-luck reactions of many conservatives.
Well, I'm pretty conservative. I voted for Senator McCain.
Nevertheless, after a few minutes' disappointment* in getting used to the result, I found plenty of bright side about which I could be happy. I was so glad for all of my neighbors who woke me with their celebrating, and for my student with the proud Obama button the next morning, and for the millions of others like them. And a Barack Obama sand sculpture in India can't help but bring a smile.
I was also so very proud of my country and its election process and peaceful transition of power. I keep picturing the tea that George and Laura Bush will have with Barack and Michelle Obama on January 20th.
And I was proud to hold up our new President-elect to my many disappointed students, and to urge that they respect him and pray for him.
All of that said, I'm mildly to moderately concerned about what President-elect Obama and his Congress will do. I think Matthew is right in saying the joy behind the celebration, and much of the reason Obama was elected to begin with, has a lot more to do with an ideal than it does an ideology. But the two are a package deal.
For instance, I think it would be a monstrosity if the Freedom of Choice Act passed. I furthermore don't want to see the nation enact protectionist economic policies that I think would hurt our global friends and us in the long run. I believe that, while our healthcare system needs major reforming, doing anything like socializing it would make things worse. And there are a whole slew of other issues with which I don't really trust the solutions offered by our President-elect and his Democratic colleagues.
All of that said, I'm willing to give him a shot. Indeed, in the spirit of his campaign, I hope to be a more active contributor to my democracy, voicing my concerns along the way. I think those who are particularly misguided are those who hope that Obama fails and fails big now that he's going to be President.
He's my President now, too.
*Interestingly enough, I voted for Kerry in '04 and was quite bummed out by the prospect of a united Republican government. Four years can bring a lot of change, all right.
**On conservatives who quip that America is finished now that it has elected Obama and his Congress, I don't take them too seriously. It's just the mirror image of those who four years ago threatened to move to Canada.