Hi, it's me, your long-missing founder and crank-in-chief.
We haven't really talked about politics here, and for good reason. This is a trite diversion devoted to meta-commentary about a single web comic. But I've been living and dying with the American election for the past few months, and now that it's over, I realize I simply haven't had any room in my brain for anything but hope. Hope that intelligence would overcome pandering, hope that broad ideas would overcome single issues, hope even that hope itself would defeat fear. And it has.
If you're not an American, you probably can't understand what last night meant to many of us.
At first glance it seems like we have overcome the last eight years of inept governance, an impressive feat in and of itself. But in truth it's bigger than that. For almost a generation, American politics have been run by ideologues -- decisions on who to vote for and what issues to talk about have been made based on personality and narrow interests, meaning more and more that the whole point of being in office was to maintain the power, rather than actually use that power.
The Republican party, long the home of social and fiscal conservatives, finally painted itself into a corner. Through extreme incompetence, and (ironically) by both adhering to and straying from their fiscal ideals, they finally managed to thoroughly trash the economy so badly that they've alienated even the conservatives in America. And that is no small feat.
I laughed at today's strip. Being a Bloom County fan from way back (wayyy back) I immediately recognized it, and I appreciated the effort.
Being an American for the past 10 years has felt a little like being in the Meadow Party -- not that I'd compare Al Gore or John Kerry to Bill the Cat, but we have struggled for so long, not understanding why our message didn't get out, playing against opponents who far out-weighed us and were willing to use any trick in the book to defeat us.
I have no illusions that our next president is not a politician, with many of the things that that implies, but the nature of his campaign, the nature of his supporters, his own unflappable temperament and nature tells me that we have turned a big corner.
I have heard it said that wealth is still a divisive issue in European politics. For whatever reason, Americans have overcome that for the most part -- we fancy ourselves a classless society. What we have instead is a less-logical fear of intelligence and a fear of "elite" which is not the same as "elitist."
Our new President-Elect is intelligent, hard-working, intellectually curious, charismatic, and seems to truly care about us and the job that has just landed on his shoulders.
He has a big job ahead of him, an amazingly big job, but he is exactly the kind of person we need working for us.
Thus endeth the election.