Two days later, I’m angry and sickened, still, and no more optimistic about the catastrophically negative effect this presidency will have on our country and the world for generations to come, but I’m no longer so functionally depressed. While Jeff has noted that he wouldn’t be averse to ratcheting up the timeframe for moving back to California, which he’d planned to do eventually anyway, he’s unsure about whether he could go to Canada. I’m just not so sure that anywhere in the U.S. is safe from this tide, though; Oregon just passed a Constitutional amendment banning recognition of gay marriage, and even California has passed a Defense of Marriage Act limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. The so-called purple map to my eye looks fairly heavily shaded on the redder side of purple (or, as Rob Corrdry would say, “magurgundy”). I left my original hometown a long time ago when it became clear my values and beliefs were at odds with the norm there; I don’t know that leaving the country under similar circumstances would be any harder, really.
What’s more, the past four years I could delude myself that the rest of the world could separate the beliefs of individual American citizens from those guiding George W. Bush; after all, there was always the sense that his presidency wasn’t really quite legitimate, and that we Americans were, in fact, embarrassed by our cowboy president. But now any actions taken by him and his administration will be seen as reflecting the “will of the people,” as he himself already has declared. I’m no longer just embarrassed by the president, I’m now embarrassed by–and, more, somewhat frightened of–51% of my fellow Americans. An idealist most of my life, and a political activist for many of my younger years, part of me now wants to be selfish, and just live my life in a country where I won’t automatically be suspect, denigrated or punished for my progressive political beliefs and moral values or for my sexual orientation.
One silver lining to the election being over, though, whatever the outcome, is that now I can stop (or at least dramatically cut back) obsessively following every entry in every progressive political blog, every campaign-related article in every major newspaper, and every news item on NPR, thereby getting a huge chunk of time back out of each day.