Throughout this campaign season I've avoided making any political blog posts. Mostly I did this because there were so many out there anyway it seemed foolish to add to the din. Now that the election is over – and I'm both pleased that it's over and pleased at the outcome – I've decided there is something I want to say: America Has Changed! I know, you're thinking, “Well, doh.” To me America changing is a good thing but there are a lot of people who do not feel that way.
Bill O'Reilly was bombasting on some program today about how the “white establishment is now the minority.” Yes. And that is a good thing. Over the past few decades we have become an increasingly diverse population and that trend is not going to go backwards. Women are becoming more visible in politics. Here in Massachusetts we elected Elizabeth Warren, our first woman in Congress. New Hampshire is now fully represented and governed by women. Hawaii elected a new senator who is not only a woman, but Asian-American and a Buddhist. Illinois got rid their detestable dead-beat-dad senator and elected Tammy Duckworth (I think that was the happiest thing that happened for me last night.) Captain Duckworth was a helicopter pilot flying combat missions in Iraq when she was shot down and lost both of her legs. She is one of the most admirable women I know of.
More and more we are seeing the diversification of America everywhere. Recently I was listening to Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse-Tyson talk about the opposition he met when he decided to pursue a PhD in his chosen field. He said even members of his family told him that African-Americans did not become astrophysicists – but there he is. Over the past months of watching news programs I've been struck by just how many brilliant, articulate men and women of diverse ethnic backgrounds are called on as experts in various fields (I think I could fall in love with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.) America is changing because the population is changing and our politics are changing to reflect that. Get used to it, folks, this is the new normal.
As I watched the video of people standing in line to vote for 4-5-6 hours I was also struck by who they were. Lots and lots of ethnically diverse people, lots of women. These people were so determined to cast their vote, despite all the attempts at voter suppression, that they endured hours and hours in line just to make sure their voices were heard.
So when a blowhard like O'Reilly attempts to demonize them by saying that they only did that to get “stuff” or when a multi-millionaire like Romney dismisses 47% of the electorate as people who “don't want to take responsibility for themselves” they are making a grave mistake. The longer they continue to think that way, the longer their side will keep losing. Americans aren't dumb. Women aren't dumb. People of color aren't dumb. We know when we are being trivialized and insulted and, as we grow in power, the “establishment” of old white men is going to grow weaker and lose more power. They can either wake up and accept that America has changed and will continue to change (it's called evolution, it's been around for a long time) or they continue to lose control.
Last night the American people sent some powerful messages: Our government is not for sale, we will not advance the politics of hate, we will not tolerate the diminishment and demonization of a changing electorate. America has changed and that is both inevitable and good. Get used to it.
Thanks for reading.