This election, as somebody said on CNN, is a backlash against a backlash. The raw hatred that typical Obama opponents direct toward him is new; we haven't seen that kind of anger before 2008. The people that "hated" Bush2 tended to almost feel sorry for him. The people that "hated" Clinton just saw him as a dishonest, dishonorable trickster with southern charm in an otherwise deceptive person. You can pick a random 20 other U.S. presidents and see the differing causes, definitions, and depths of "hatred."
If you remove racism (which I'm sure a lot of people toward the right/center-right are tired of being accused of but I hate to see a blindness toward the larger race-favoring tendencies of many from all races), then all you have left is a fear of socialist policies. People who want to leave the country are having trouble finding an acceptable place to go that doesn't have the same policies as his administration has introduced, as one of my friends pointed out (health care systems, free, high quality schooling and college, a commitment to infrastructure, a protection of ecosystems, a will to go into debt to make investments instead of waiting until you have the "cash" and watching the world pass you by in every core area of meaning and strength, equal rights across the board, etc.).
So now if you remove racism and a rational fear that we are sliding into Socialism and toward Communism (neither of which most people can even define), what remains? Why so much hate? It makes you walk backward and figure out what's really going on.
What I do believe is that nobody can force us to be united; we have to decide to be united in any fight, or in any peace. Nobody wants a government controlling them, but nobody wants to welcome social Darwinism either. The even split in this country, as indicated by yet another close election, indicates that we are at a crucial point; we have to welcome new ideas and employ them, while holding on to our belief systems, religions, freedoms, and constitutional guarantees. This is not easy--maybe we should all give ourselves a pat on the back that a real civil war hasn't broken out and that we can discuss, solve, and unite to move forward without losing our history, both good and bad, and without shedding American blood just to define or redefine America's meaning.
What bothers me more than anything are the social screamers against any party who have not educated themselves on where, exactly, their tax dollars go, if they even pay income taxes and how little that even contributes to national spending, how strong their constitution is in protecting them from tyranny, and most of all, when they refuse to learn how to walk a mile in somebody else's shoes. It bothers me that races don't typically share churches on a broad scale even as their religion preaches about tolerance and love--it bothers me that America is driving a very powerful car full of people who are bickering and throwing hot dogs at each other instead of focusing on the road.
What bothers me is when the social screamers rant and rave about immigration when, with the exception of Native Americans and Mexicans in the south, we are all immigrants--we took land to be born. We enslaved people to make us grow. That part is nothing to be proud of, but where we've come since then IS something to be proud of. Equal rights are becoming real and solidified. We have fought worldwide to protect the freedom and basic human rights of others, as we've learned and grown. Minorities have realized that slaves were present in all races and many societies for thousands of years before America was born but that no amount of past behaviors can justify a present or future wrong behavior. And there is nothing wrong with enforcing our immigration laws; we have a system, and people need to go through it--to wait in line like everybody else. Watch a fast-forwarded tape of America's birth and growth in your mind. Imagine, as you do, that you could hear everybody's private thoughts. Warning; doing this will shake your brain around a little bit.
What bothers me is the social screamers who refuse to realize that there is a world outside of America, and that we don't own it. We own America, and that's IT. As the reigning strength among countries worldwide, the responsibility falls upon us to not be bullies--to help at any time that we can--any disaster for any country--any problem for any struggling nation that we're in a position to help with--that falls upon us. It's true--you could just say to Hell with the world and not help anybody and live a prosperous life right here in the United States of America, but no country in the history of the world has remained a world power indefinitely. They have come and gone, some returning to power, and some not. No form of government has proven to be the perfect one--the one that couldn't be beaten. They have risen and fallen like the waves in the ocean. I think of my British friend, Jason, and I wonder what he really thinks about us. It matters to me. My family comes from England and Norway and I wonder what they think of us. I wonder what Africa and Asia really think of us. I wonder what Canadians and Mexicans say behind closed doors about America. Does Europe, as a whole, see us as a threat? Getting too big for our britches? Are China and Russia talking about uniting to conquer us because we have grown so powerful that we honestly scare their people?
What bothers me is how I've heard lots of my fellow citizens say that when it comes to helping other countries, we need to spend that money at home--that people are hurting--yet those same people do not support programs that help hurting Americans.
The truth is that it's just going to have to keep on bothering me, unless I let it go, because people believe what they believe for a million different reasons, self included.
When it all comes crumbling down (which won't be any time soon), all you really have are the people you care about and the people that care about you. Like Reagan, I hate that it takes a real threat to unite this country. Like Obama, I believe that we are not red and blue states but, in fact, the United States. One day, we are going to start spreading out in the universe. These ideas that you are helping to shape and mold right now will travel out with those people. I often wonder if, when that time comes, we would really just be more of a virus than anything; a constant conqueror, we humans. The only thing that can make us better than that--the only thing that can make our outward growth as humankind a force of good--is to help where we can and have the wisdom to know when we can't. As Americans, if you could stand there to see the news when we land on and populate our first planet in a new solar system, what values would you hope those people carried with them? I almost take Mars and the moon for granted now; I know we'll populate those, probably before I die. If America is still so strong, though, when we really start spreading out, do you think our system of existing and governing would be a good one to start life on another planet? If not, which system?
I've voted Republican and Democrat before and seen some very intriguing ideas among Independent and Green parties (sometimes too advanced for us to really grasp, I think), and I am the true definition of an independent voter, because I believe our country has to bob-and-weave to excel and survive, and really, none of us should be so fastened to our ideology or parties that we forget what changes had to occur to make us the undisputed, strongest nation in the world or what beliefs a man or woman in uniform had to hold true to rush an enemy in the face of the ugliest odds. It's in THERE. In that pile of reality and information, after truth is separated from lies--inside you, where that "thing" is that assures you that yes, you would die to defend your country--inside of all that, the true definition of America lies, waiting to be pulled out, dusted off, and shined up, because although it's a growing, changing definition, it is and always will be the child of an idea.