Pal Wheylona posted this image as part of her own post-election analysis from a European perspective. I have to admit that it speaks to me, capturing as it does the historic nature of this election, the end of a regime which I sincerely feel has not had the best interests of most Americans at heart, and the sense of a populist progressivism that I hope will be evident in the new administration. In my estimation, the single most important advantage to an Obama administration is that is should be easier to pull to the left; I will gauge its success by just how far we are able to do that, because I think that more people will be helped more genuinely by that course than by another.
At the same time, we have to remember that the popular vote in the presidential race was split roughly 52% to 48%, a clear victory but not an overwhelming majority. And no matter how much we joke about it or frequently we kid about it, neither half of the population of this country is going to move away, or secede from the union and become Jesusland or The United States of Canada, or change their minds overnight. We have some serious problems ahead, and it's going to take all of us to fix them. How are we going to do that, especially when some of the differences that divide us appear to be so elemental?
That renaissance man of the intarweb, Ze Frank, seems to have taken one small step forward with his From 52 to 48 with Love project. In his own quirky, bloggy way, Ze wants to start off this new era with reconciliation and community, and has asked people to contribute their own expressions of those feelings. Some of the photos contained in the album are just touching and heartbreaking in their sincerity; the responses to it have, of course, been mixed. But I think it's a great place to start.
I have friends in the 48, people whose intelligence I respect and whose integrity is unquestionable. I think they were wrong in where they threw their support and I think they are wrong in some their fundamental assumptions about who we are and how we work as a country. But I want them to be part of my community and part of my country, and I need to pull them closer instead of pushing them away. This might help with that, a little bit.
As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too."--Barack Obama