To the credit of Democrats - or maybe just the Democrats that I count among my friends - I have yet to receive a single nasty gloating call, email, note or text message on Barack Obama's victory. Perhaps any negativity is just being forestalled by their current state of elation. Perhaps. But, I'll choose to believe the best here. Most of what I've seen so far has been good-natured and classy.
That's not to say that I haven't taken some good-natured ribbing from a few over John McCain's loss. And that's fair enough. I'd be hard pressed to honestly say that I wouldn't be engaging in some similar harmless poking had McCain been the victor. I'm human, all too human.
From one of these messages I received, the conversation evolved into a very interesting discussion. Here's a bit of what my friend had to say:
"I think we're all much better off with someone who can bring us all together and inspire the people of our country, and the world for that matter. So, I'm glad we got it!
I'm sure you're not ecstatic about the election result, but I hope you and other [R]epublicans around the country can come together to support Obama. It's really the only way we can pull ourselves out of the mess we're in."
First off, I'm a little frightened of the "America coming together" collectivism. Over the course of history, some of the worst things that have occurred have come from mass unity. What's more, this nation was born out of great disagreement and on the principal of protecting our rights to disagree with each other. It's a prime part of what makes this country so great.
Most certainly, the over 64 million who voted for Obama feel unified right now. But I'm sure the over 56 million who voted for McCain – and speaking as a member of that group – would have to dissent from that feeling.
While I understand my friend's sentiment about GOPers and conservatives coming together to support Obama, I find it somewhat ironic that we're now being asked to do something the vast majority of Democrats NEVER did: support the man sitting in the Oval Office because he was our President.
The last eight years have been filled with unending, ad nauseum recitations of "he's not my President," "selected, not elected," "Bush cheated," "steal it again, Bush," "Bush lied, people died," and so on and so forth.
Columnist Charles Kruathammer has termed this "Bush Derangement Syndrome." I call it utterly petty childishness that plays out like an unending temper-tantrum more befitting a two-year old than some of the (supposedly) educated adults from which I've heard it flow.
So I want to state this as emphatically as I possibly can: I refuse to allow myself to become what I beheld for the last eight years. As of January 20th, 2009, Barack Obama is as much my President as he is that of my Democrat friends.
I'm most certainly not recommending that conservatives abandon all their values and fall in line as we march head-first into socialism or the New New Deal. Much to the opposite, if this is the direction President Obama takes, that agenda must be opposed. It must be opposed voraciously and vociferously.
But I'm never going to be one of those people that deny he's my President because I didn't vote for him.
The truth of the matter is we have yet to see how a President Obama - member of a party that will solidly control both houses of Congress – will govern. Only time will tell that. I'm inclined to believe we're about to take a hard left turn towards socialism. And that inclination leaves me more than a little scared for the future of this country that I love so much. I'll hope for the best while preparing for the worst.
But you'll never hear me say that he's not my President.
If I didn't respect the Democrats who acted this way, how could I ever respect myself for becoming the same?
I refuse to be "that guy."