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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Silver linings

So, the election. Depressing result, right? The gloomy rain today was a decent reflection of my feelings toward my fellow Americans.

In 2004, Matt and I were given the infamous Green Card interview the day after the election in which George W. Bush was elected for a second term. Driving from Harrisburg to the INS office in Philadelphia while listening to the post-election analysis on NPR, I felt an intense and bitter disappointment, and it was hard to muster up much enthusiasm when the humorless G-Man from the Department of Homeland Security grilled us on our relationship so that I could live permanently in a country that had just voted to continue in a direction which left me, an alien spouse, feeling utterly alienated.

The 2008 election, despite all the misogyny, was a little better. I do remember predicting, however, when Obama won the primary, that he would be a less successful candidate than Hillary precisely because his campaign was less moderate - he would promise too much and not be able to deliver it, angering the base, or deliver on too many promises too quickly and anger opponents. It seems in some ways he's managed to do both. I wonder if the drubbing the Democratic party took on Tuesday would have been as bad if Hillary had been president - and I say this as someone whose political views are much further to the left than Obama's, but who believes in pragmatic change over change (or the appearance of change) which causes a backlash.

But, anyway, a depressing election. I can find two upsides, though one is selfish and the other hardly qualifies:
  1. I haven't written nearly as much music (especially good music) since Obama won. This may be a coincidental correlation -- orrrr maybe I compose better music when Republicans win elections because I have something awful to rail against and a motivation to create art that has something to say. I don't think I would be alone if I fell into that boat.

  2. America has a pathological fear of socialism, engendered by corporate interests which have been systematically and methodically working to demonize it since at least the 1950's because socialism is bad for their bottom line (and better for everyone else's). The only period in the last century when America has embraced many socialist ideas was during and immediately after the Great Depression. So maybe we need an economic disaster to remind us what life was like for the average Joe during the Industrial Revolution before we stop being idiots about policies which improve the quality of life in other first world nations.

    I'm just sorry I have to live through it.
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