Friday, November 09, 2012

Forward ...

A few words on this historic week:

I know my conservative friends are unhappy. (One aide described Romney as "shellshocked." I understand the intent behind the use of that word, what the staffer was trying to convey, but Romney wasn't a soldier. Romney didn't just survive an actual war. He never served. But that's not the point of this post.)

On Tuesday night, one of those conservative friends had had quite enough of my gloating and snark.

But here's what I don't think he and his ilk understand:

After four years of seeing our President attacked, insulted, delegitimized, humiliated, scorned, shunned, mocked, and misrepresented, I was thrilled – hell, I was elated – to have the curtain violently ripped aside on FOX News and have it exposed for the liar that it is, that it has been, that, if the past few days are any indication, it will continue to be, because it can't be anything else.

David Frum was on "Morning Joe" this morning talking about FOX News as an entertainment complex. Exactly. And this is what we outside the FOX News bubble have been saying all along: It's not news. Period. It's not news.

It tells people what they want to hear so people continue to tune in because the more people who tune in, the more it can charge for advertising and the more it can charge for advertising, the richer Rupert Murdoch becomes. The end.

Which is why Dick Morris predicted a Romney landslide. (Funny how Romney getting more than 300 electoral votes was to be a landslide but Obama winning with more than 300 electoral votes made the election, in Morris's words, "a squeaker.") Which is why Newt Gingrich predicted a Romney landslide, based on his "years and years of experience." Which is why everyone on FOX News was ignoring everything that was trying to seep in from the real world and was assuring its viewers that all would be well.

Except that it wasn't.

Romney was never going to win.

There was no reason to doubt Nate Silver, other than that he's part of the evil "liberal," "lamestream" media.

Nate predicted the 2008 election with almost 100-percent accuracy.

And, turns out, he predicted the 2012 election with almost 100-percent accuracy, too.

President Bill Clinton would call that magic "arithmetic."

We can simplify it even further and just call it "math."

So, yes, I was gloating. A lot of us were gloating. Because we really, really like it when bullies and liars get smacked down. It restores our faith in what is good and right.

We spent four years, we who supported the president in 2008, hearing endless lies about him, seeing hideous images of him with a noose around his neck or with a bone through his nose or with a watermelon patch on the White House lawn.

We saw Tea Partyers with nonsensical signs – "Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare!" – and racist signs calling our president a "niggar." The misspelling didn't soften the blow, though it did reinforce the stupidity of the sign makers.

I heard an older woman in a restaurant – a white woman, of course – say Michelle Obama looked like an ape.

I had a member of my own family inform me that he has to watch FOX News to get "the whole story." He's an otherwise smart man. I hope he's since reconsidered his source for "news."

What carried us through was our belief in our president, a good man doing good things to help the nation. A good man who will continue to do good things to help the nation, things that will benefit all Americans, not just those who chose to vote for him.

Even those who have spent the last four years parroting every FOX News talking point and internalizing every right-wing conspiracy theory will benefit as the economy improves, as jobs are added, as they and their loved ones are able to access medical care, as education is strengthened, as the war in Afghanistan is ended, as our troops come home, as our nation's problems are addressed in meaningful ways.

The final electoral tally, since Romney conceded Florida, in the 2012 election was Obama 332, Romney 206. Florida's popular vote is not yet final, but Obama is on track to have earned at least 3 million more votes than Romney, who earned about 2 million less than John McCain.

This election was not "a squeaker." This election was decisive. And a message was sent.

Those of us who voted for Obama would not have voted for a man who was evil, who was bent on destroying the country. What good would that possibly do for any of his supporters? Why would we knowingly vote for our own demise?

One person on Twitter, who had gone to see Dinesh D'Souza's absurd and wildly discredited "2016," asked me: "Do you *really* know who you're supporting?"

Yes, I assured her, I really do.

As did the more than 60 million of us who voted for President Obama for a second term.

I know that there are those who will refuse to believe the facts right before their eyes. FOX News is busy trying to explain why the election turned out the way it did. But FOX News has no other choice. It is a business that relies on an audience to make money and in order to make money, it has to tell its audience what its audience wants to hear.

And there is a part of me that says, "Fine. Be willfully ignorant. Lose the next election, too. And the next. And the one after that."

But no. I don't want to live in a country in which one party impedes while the other party leads.

There is real progress to be made, real, necessary progress. We need cooperation, not impediment.

I know that those who have been entrenched in a belief – however misguided – for four years will need some time to readjust their worldview.

But I hope they decide to come along. I really do.

I know we will always have our differences about what is best for the country, what paths we should take. But what cannot be in doubt is the direction.