I received several responses to my last post via email and Facebook, although no one actually bothered to post on this website. I decided to amend my comments a bit because I’ve realized they could be rather sorrowfully misinterpreted. I should also say that I’ve had a really rough day and am feeling a bit defeated right now, so if it sounds a bit fatalistic, that’s probably why.
Anyway, I know what Obama meant by the comment that I quoted, and I suppose I don’t really have a problem with it (the idea of “unity”). I’m more concerned with the general shift towards nationalism and an emphasis on the federal government that has been perpetuated since Lincoln and FDR. In the recent years, I’ve become somewhat of a libertarian, arguing for less regulation and government oversight/management on all levels, but especially at the federal level. The primary problem that I have with the Democratic agenda is that it holds such a positive/empowering view of government and nationalism: universal health care, social security, public education, the war on drugs, etc. I suppose that the Republican agenda is really not much better–it’s really just the same philosophy, projected onto slightly different issues: the war in Iraq, gay marriage, etc. I was very unhappy about both major candidates, and after much frustration about our two-party system and the futility of third-party runs, eventually decided to vote for Bob Barr as a protest vote.
Obama scares me for a few other reasons as well. His rhetoric seems far too vague, mindless, and populist; “change,” “yes we can,” and “I’m middle-class too” seemed to be defining points of his campaign. That we’ve elected someone on such a platform frightens me. In addition, he seems to be engendering a sort of fanaticism among his supporters that is normally reserved for pop/movie stars and revolutionaries. I wince thinking about the violence, unrest, and hatred we probably would have experienced if McCain had won the election. The level of vitriol that I saw projected towards George W. Bush in recent months and years has astounded me in its intensity. Even more surprising is how quickly these same folks are now “proud of their country” and “hopeful for the first time in eight years.” This view seems far too simplistic to me.
Anyway, I figure it’s time for me to give up for a while. Democrats are intoxicated with success at the moment, and perhaps the best course of action is to sit back and let them cool down a bit. We’ll see what the next four/eight years will bring, and then we’ll probably bear the consequences for years to come, just as we’re now bearing the consequences of Clinton’s and Bush’s administrations. One mercy of the current system of government is that things move so slowly that the deterioration of our society will happen gradually, and we may have a chance to delay its demise for decades or even generations.
I suppose Obama’s speech really just opened my eyes to what was already happening–I just didn’t want to admit it before. My views are so far from the mainstream that I really can’t afford to get too riled up about it–otherwise, I will spend my life perpetually angry at the world. This election has demonstrated that the vast majority of citizens (or at least voters) in my country do not agree with me, and maybe it’s time for me to shut up and try to get along with everyone else for the sake of my own sanity.