What Matters Now

When my daughter was three weeks old I had the only bout of postpartum depression I ever had. It lasted less than an hour. I had just finished bathing and dressing her in the cutest little footie one-piece pajamas with a little frill around her softly padded bottom. She hadn’t yet grown into it, and it dwarfed her baby frame. As she laid there on the bed kicking those tiny legs and gurgling softly, I gazed at her, and gazing, was hit with a massive wave of regret. She was here, outside me, where she could no longer be protected as she had been in my womb. I took a long look back at history, and the long view forward to the future, and I did not like what I saw. Here was this girl child, who would grow up to be a woman in a country and world that changed rapidly and faced uncertainty. I thought of her alone, after I died, and wondered how she would make it. Tears streamed down my face until I was in a state of sobbing uncontrollably.

The helplessness and hopelessness that characterized that solitary hour then returned last night as I watched Mitt Romney give his concession speech. Thankfully, it lasted just about as long, and no tears came this time. I am stronger than I was at 23. I’m so grateful to whatever universal force granted me the power of an eternally resilient spirit. Though I wanted to call in sick, I managed to haul my butt out of bed at 6:30 this morning and make the 45 minutes drive to my 8:00 a.m. class, where I treated my students with the typical compassion and kindness that I always do. I am still me. The president cannot change that. Bush didn’t and Obama won’t. I do worry about the accumulation of all the damage they have caused and that Obama will continue to cause, and the work that will come with it, but I know that when the time comes I am up to the challenge.

I’m a realist. I don’t look for fantasy silver-linings and I don’t resort to hyperbole and blame. I have seen it all online since this thing ended last night: Hillary 2016 wishcasting, assertions that this is the end of U.S. elections, and plenty of blame to go around. I have only preliminarily surveyed the lay of the land in the aftermath, but it appears that Team Obama did what they needed to do, which was exceed their 2008 turnout numbers in targeted counties in swing states. Micro-targeting is an awfully cynical way to win an election, without a mandate to boot, but it apparently works with the help of social issues-hyping and appeals to identity. The coalition of the countable defeated the coalition of the accountable last night, but they know not yet what they have wrought. This game cannot last forever because it is bleeding what is necessary to sustain it, and that is people with good jobs, decent pay, and the work ethic to support the welfare state.

Before last night I had some hope the economy could begin turning around next year. I no longer think that will happen. Instead I expect it will continue its excruciating slow climb back, or it might be sunk further by the effects of our globalized markets. Gas and food prices surely won’t be going down, and wages will not climb. If anything, they will continue to erode, except for special protected classes, like the creative class and the union class. I had hoped to secure a full-time job by the end of this year or the beginning of next, but now I suspect I will have to continue my contract work and cobble together some additional income opportunities. Complicating this will be the new tax bill coming in 2014 that will come to so many suffering Americans like me who want to work full-time jobs but can’t find them. Our health care system will continue the decay that has already started as a result of Obamacare, and the consequences for certain constituencies will, no doubt, be unbearable. In short, Wall Street and the welfare class will continue to party on while the middle class continues to bear the brunt.

So here we are, facing four more years of uncertain economic times, and certain authoritarian social change. The Obama legacy was cemented last night, and the Democratic Party, and thus the nation, is that much further away from confronting its own ethical dilemmas. Climate change, too, got a big boost, and more authoritarian change will come with it. The age of George W. Bush continues. I don’t think anyone can blame Romney for how this turned out. He ran a good, honest race as a moderate Republican, and on budget. He represented real change, and was the ideal man for our pressing national issues. Half of America supported him, and half rejected him. There’s no shame in that for the half that gave the facts a good hard look and chose wisely. Half of Americans are still comfortable with denial, it appears.

The GOP, meanwhile, must continue its path of reforming itself. They have it right on fiscal issues, and now they need to address the social aspect of their agenda so they can ascend to implement that fiscal path. They also need a plan for how to fracture the coalition of the countable.  The demographic games Democrats play are deadly and divisive. There are no two ways about that, and no way to work around it. As long as it is allowed to run its course we will grow further and further apart as a nation, and American values that we’ve long held dear, like our ideas about having a purpose that drives us to work and our affinity for liberty, will continue to erode. A house divided against itself cannot stand for long.

I’m not a believer in giving up or throwing in the towel. I didn’t that day so long ago when my spirit was suddenly and temporarily crushed beneath the weight of the wheel of fortune. I bucked myself up as is my way, and I raised that little girl to be the woman she is today. She is as bright and clear-headed, as filled with the wholesome values that still permeate America as I could have hoped that day some 19 years ago. While other girls in her age group chase after the illusory promises a decadent and degenerate culture has sold them, my girl refuses to join the herd, and resists offering herself up as a sacrifice to the status quo. She has purpose and vision for the future, and because she does, she gives me hope. I really need that today.

***

While I am not looking forward to it, I will be holding my last edition of This American Election tonight at 7:00 p.m. eastern time. Watch for an open thread later today at The Crawdad Hole. I’m not sure about my future with BlogTalkRadio. I do know that I will need a couple of weeks to regroup before I make that decision. And I do intend to keep blogging.

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9 comments on “What Matters Now

  1. God I wish I was still young enough to have hope and to start over (AGAIN!)
    I know not what is coming, but it ain’t gonna be pretty.
    Thanks be to God, they did not win control of the WH and both Houses.

  2. DeniseVB says:

    What do you want to do with Romney Democrats ? I thought you can pin a note for awhile and have them *like* Peacocks and Lilies and The Crawdad Hole pages which are the sister pages to RD anyhow 🙂

    Same smart Democrats who put country before party. Who knows, our Republican and Independent friends may follow us over.

    I did see some ask to keep RD up. IMO, I think we need to rebuild and I can’t think of better starting blocks than on Facebook P&L and TCH.

    I was going to email you, but thought I’d let the rest of the *family* weigh in too.

    Like Sarah Palin’s courage and kindness of Romney and Ryan, I will be forever inspired by them and how good they made me feel.

    Sorry for the ramble, guess I’m not fully “recovered” from the shock and awe of the American people rehiring Obama. My head’s still spinning, but am ready to move on for the country’s sake.

  3. JohnSmart says:

    You are such a gifted writer, Annabelle.

  4. Anthony says:

    Amazing, insightful and vulnerable post. Thanks for fearlessly speaking your truth; a truth I believe we can all relate to.

    You know I’ve got your back, AnnaBelle, and I’m with you all the way.

    Now, let’s serve the “T” tonight (and just desserts where they’re deserved!)

  5. yttik says:

    That was good to read, Lola!

    President Obama is going to inherit a real mess from the previous administration. He’s got an extremely divided and polarized country and a gridlocked congress. I’m not sure I’d wish that job on, well…not even on President Obama.

    As to the economy, we need to remember that new businesses were started during the Great Depression and some even continue to thrive today. Some people, against all odds, even managed to prosper. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that so much of people’s individual prosperity comes from attitude and belief, rather than circumstances. That is certainly true of myself. I’ve spent a lifetime believing that this was a mean and racist country, that opportunity was only available to some, that there is only so much pie to go around, that it’s greedy and selfish not to just accept your lot in life. Why should you have more when others have nothing? Money is evil and belongs to people who “don’t pay their fair share.” Well, with beliefs like that, it’s no wonder I’ve struggled financially for so long! Many of those beliefs are also Obama’s beliefs and today I completely reject them. I can thank Mitt Romney for showing the country another path and that’s the path I’m going to choose to follow.

  6. Palomino says:

    Anna, I could not phone in or listen in real time, but thank you so much for that beautiful righteous rant in the most recent (I won’t say”last”) episode of TAE. Keep going, Anna!

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