A day or so after the monumental victory of President-elect Barack Obama in the presidential election life still goes on in America.
Those who simply disagreed with the policy positions of Obama are chalking this up as a loss and moving on with their lives. The racists, the Islamophobes and right-wing nuts (see Freerepublic) are not taking this easy. You see they have thought, well forever, that they had the monopoly on what an American is and looks like. Now a black man with a Muslim name will be the commander in chief of the armed forces and the face of America to the world.
Many of these enemies of Obama will seethe in private and with friends and family. I am sure there are thousands of neighborhood bars throughout America from Staten Island to Simi Valley from the northern suburbs of Atlanta to Orange County full of talk about how America went wrong. Most will just run their mouths in private and are law-abiding if bigoted; but let us not fool ourselves there are going to be those who will turn to extremism and violence in this period.
It is no mistake that an upswing in right-wing violence occurred under the Administration of Bill Clinton. The right was angry and unlike most of the angry left under Bush it was armed, trained and many had military backgrounds. I expect such a thing to occur again although this time with a decidedly more racial tone. This will come from the Christian Identity Movement, Minutemen types, and even neo-Nazis; but while all of these groups can cause death and suffering on a small scale they are incapable of becoming a major threat due to a lack of popular support. Some of these people have the potential to become “dead-enders” meaning instead of seeing themselves as the ultimate Americans because of their whiteness and Christianity they may see themselves as an oppressed group and drop out of the mainstream they once defined. This type of thing has a greater chance of occurring in a bad economy.
My biggest concern, by far, is the widespread existence of right-wing extremism within the armed forces and federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies throughout America. If there is any real threat to Obama I think this is where it will come from. A vast majority of those in these agencies will do the right thing; but there are more than a few bad apples in these barrels and they have been known to step out of line
For the rest of us life goes on. Obama cannot do everything. He has to do his part and we have to do our part. We cannot have the failed “wait for the messiah” mentality that has doomed many cultures to failure. We cannot be utopian. Those who have came promising utopia in the past from the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Nazi Germany and even Libya under the Colonel have only succeeded in creating human suffering and misery. Man does not have the power to create utopia. What our leaders have the power to do, if we meet them half way, is the delivery of incremental change and on specific issues make changes that are better for the masses of the people while the society remains imperfect.
In the case of Obama, with a Democratic Congress, we have a chance for real change on issues such as universal health-care, education, fair wages, labor standards, racial justice, saving social security, urban investment, job creation, public transportation, infrastructure investment and much more. This is what can reasonably be done and this should be where our focus is.
For the Muslims out there who will not be satisfied until Obama joins Hamas and sends his daughters as suicide bombers to pizzerias in Tel Aviv you need to quit. We live in America, our families are here, and our political interest should be first and foremost about what is going on here.
Life goes on. Last night I picked up a guy from the hospital. He was excited about the Obama win; but his teenage daughter had been shot three times in the chest in a drive-by shooting. A firefighter in St. Louis County who stopped to help a disabled vehicle was shot and killed on the same day. What does this tell us? We have to get our shit together long before Obama or anyone can do anything to help us. We have to get right. I have to get right.