A Post-Election Concession


As featured on the Huffington Post:

A four year old got angry and dragged her ruby-red crayon all over my computer screen. That’s what the map on my MacBook Pro looked like last night: a fresh coat of crimson Crayola. And, as four year olds are known to do, she colored outside of the lines. It’s messy, it’s uncalled for, and I’m feeling a complex combination of overwhelming emotions.

I’m angry that Republicans have retaken the House. I’m worried that the poor will be left to fend for themselves, that special-interest groups will determine the fate of our economy, that Congress will decide to regulate love, and that energy reform will manifest itself in the form of tax breaks for pollution-prone companies. I’m baffled by such an abrupt shift in popular ideology and loss of faith in new policies that haven’t yet had the chance to prove or disprove themselves. I’m concerned that my new speaker, John Boehner, is getting a little too much sun.

I’m terrified. I’m on the edge of my seat. I’m bellowing vitriolic insults at a Sony flat-screen television. But in the face of such severe inner-ire, there’s something that I must concede.

If there’s one thing that I learned last night–regardless of the magnitude of my outrage–it’s that we live in an incredible country, the likes of which the world has rarely seen. The “city on a hill” phenomenon–the idea of American exceptionalism in its traditional context–is not what I’m pointing to. I’m not saying that economically or socially, culturally or educationally, commercially or religiously, America is any more “exceptional” than the next country. What’s incredible, however, is that the same ethos of cyclical change that ushered in the would-be era of liberal influence in 2008, became its roadblock tonight. And that, even an angry liberal must admit, is exceptional.

There are countries in this world that have held the same leaders (or whose leaders have held them) for decades–generations. A steady capacity for change, in all its ambiguity and disappointing two-sidedness, is a remarkable achievement.

Taking a good hard look at the shifts in influence from the beginning of the Clinton era to the dawn of the Gingrich era to the beginning of the Bush era to the dawn of the Pelosi era to the beginning of the Obama era to the dawn of what may prove to be the Boehener era, one realizes what American freedom really means.

There’s been no violence, there’s been no bloodshed; and in an undisputed, clear-cut manner, the tables have very dramatically turned. The elasticity of the potential for power to shift in the United States is a present-day embodiment of Constitutional freedom and proof that Lincoln’s government “of the people, by the people, for the people” has not perished from the earth.

“Frustrated” doesn’t being to describe it. I’m worried about the economy, just as I’m anxious about the well-being of the environment. I’m worried about the future of welfare and Social Security. I’m worried about racial profiling. I’m worried about a second subprime mortgage crisis. But paramount above that extraordinary frustration, there’s only one thing that I can coherently verbalize: God bless America.

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10 thoughts on “A Post-Election Concession

  1. Thanks, Ami. I needed that. You are eloquent, brilliant and so smart. Amazing that you have such perspective at such a young age. You astound me.

  2. The American political system is confusing…..

    On the one hand, just as I asked my conservative friends to stand behind OUR leaders 2 years ago after the election, it’s my turn now to accept the new elected officials as (lump in throat) OUR leaders. On the other hand, while supporting OUR leaders, I can’t abandon my beliefs about the role of government to help those most in need, and to work towards the next election beginning today.

    We accept new leadership as we plan (hope) for the next transition; we support yet we challenge. Certainly, our governing process is confusing. And, it’s also a wonderful and enduring social experiment that asks us to strive for what’s best for society while respecting individual rights, regardless of who’s in charge.

    I believe God HAS blessed America – I hope that we continue to support yet challenge our leaders in a way that continues to earn that blessing.

  3. Our democracy is the source of our greatness as nation. Too often we take it for granted. Thank you so much for sharing these insights.

  4. It’s still really hard to swallow but you’ve helped me along with your wisdom (beyond your years!), perspective, and your calm eloquence. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for reminding me why your great grandparents brought your grandparents over, Ami. I’ll second your last sentence and thank you, also, for verbalizing my thoughts and the thoughts of millions of us.

  6. Hi Ami,

    Nice article, it was a refreshing perspecitve on the mid-term elections. Still, I can imagine that Democrats must be a bit disappointed/frustrated at the moment. As such, I wrote a song and video aimed at cheering Mr. Obama up in the wake of the mid-terms. It’s called “A Colour-Coded Guide to a Successful First Term”. I hope you enjoy it!

    Thanks,

    Rob Shiels
    Brazen Lungs
    http://www.myspace.com/brazenlungs

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