Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Period of Adjustment

Much has happened since the election of Barack Obama. Most has simply been further settling of the broken chunks of the economy.

Gas prices have plunged. Climate change seems forgotten as chilly weather makes warming seem like not such a bad thing.

Supporters of Obama spoke openly of their hope and relief after the election. His detractors grumbled. Some swore to resist in dramatic terms. No running off to Canada for the folks who will give up their guns when you pry their cold, dead hands off of them. They load in supplies and ammo, rig their perimeter alarms and defenses and wait for the next Shot Heard Round the World.

When I visited my car mechanic a few days after the election, a fat, angry white man was there, sounding off to Rich about all that was wrong with the new administration. He grunted out separate lumps of condemnation that lay around him on the floor in disorganized piles. He spoke proudly of his service in Vietnam.

"We killed plenty of gooks," he said. "If we killed a few extra, so what?

"You want to know how to treat prisoners of war? I'll tell you how. After the Vietnam war they never found any enlisted prisoners, you know that? You know why? The gooks killed 'em all. I'm proud of what we did over there."

He was offended that Rahm Emmanuel had served in the Israeli army instead of the US Army. He considered it less worthy than service in Desert Storm would have been.

"We were over there fighting to save Israel's ass. Did they do any fighting? No!"

I didn't try to remind him that George HW Bush had pressured Israel to stay out of it so it wouldn't inflame the Muslim world any more than it already had. He growled warningly whenever I said anything that didn't sound like hearty support. Not wanting to make an uncomfortable scene that would mess up my relations with the mechanic, I fell into the same mode Rich did. We just went along with the ranting, let him vent.

The fat man had a whole lot of militarism in him for having served less than ten years. He may have served the minimum required by the draft. It was a little hard to follow. All I knew for sure was that this soft bodied man loved to talk a hard line.

The worst of the grumbling seems to have subsided. I don't believe for a minute that this reflects acceptance and support. The grumblers simply have other things to do. If you ask them, they still hate the way things turned out. Just don't ask.

We have not elected a messiah. No candidate could be that good. So, by extension, we have not elected the embodiment of evil, either. Thoughtful people will see how it goes and adjust their opinions accordingly, regardless of how they voted this time.

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