so, it's another morning (or early afternoon) in america, and the post-election glee continues. one big topic of discussion right now is obama's selection of congressman rahm emanuel (shown above with the prez-elect in a photo nicked from latimes.com) as his new chief of staff. the man's reputation as an uncompromising partisan who likes to say "fuck" a lot has excited many people who say obama needs a hatchet man behind the scenes -- someone who can wield the power while barack stays on the bridge-building tip. you know, someone like dick cheney. mwahaha.
a (bill) clintonite who was the director of BC's presidential campaign finance committee and then a senior adviser to clinton throughout the '90s, emanuel is known as a tough guy who hates republicans and bullies members of his own party. (oh, hurray! a macho asshole. THAT'S different.) others say there is more to him than this, and i'm sure there is, but whatever.
mainly what fascinates me is that, while some dems are looking a bit askance at this appointment, a chorus of democrats and their supporters are using emanuel's new position to scoff at the notion that obama will be approaching his presidency with an eye toward bipartisan cooperation. "that's just rhetoric," they say, pumping their fists and going "yeah! mow the bastards down! revenge, revenge, REVENGE!!"
and that's fine. the republicans have ground us into the dirt for so long, a certain amount of death-to-them-all fantasizing is to be expected. a lot of it's hyperbolic clowning -- yesterday i went for a walk and saw an SUV parked at the curb on little laurel, with two bumper stickers: one reading "i don't discriminate -- i hate everyone," and the other the shepard fairey obama "hope" portrait. (ahaha -- cynics are always the most romantic.) but this anticipation of bloodletting does remind me that hate's not only the province of the right. i mean, i can get my hate on with the best of them. fuck, i'm with the bumper-sticker person -- i hate humans. but i suppose i'm disappointed, though not surprised, that there isn't a little more occupation of the high ground, since it's ours to take. why stoop to revenge, when obama's win and the clear democratic majority in congress mean we have an opportunity to finally see justice served? justice for the guantanamo detainees. justice for those who've been labeled traitors for objecting to bush & co.'s methods. justice for the troops who are lionized in public and short-changed behind the scenes. justice for the average people, whose lives have been made tougher and bleaker while the republican fat cats get fatter. and justice that will go on past obama's term, in the form of supreme court appointments.
so much evil has been stopped in its tracks just by virtue of the fact that obama got elected. for all the bullshit about "morality" that we've had to put up with these last eight years, here is a true moral victory. and yet instead people chortle with glee and plot to push their enemies down like petty children on the playground -- reminding me so much of the assholes at mccain's concession speech, who booed obama like the sore losers they are. it's disheartening.
and i can already hear the bloody-minded calling me a bleeding heart, but y'know what? fuck you too. i don't dispute that obama's bipartisan rap is at least partly rhetorical, but i also don't think he just hollowly invoked the words of martin luther king jr. (or sam cooke). throughout his campaign, he demonstrated an admirable ability to rise above, to take the shit slung at him, to answer his critics when an answer was warranted or needed simply to stop the bullshit, and to not retaliate in kind. i believe christians call that turning the other cheek. others may simply call it class. (which is not to say i don't have issues with obama, b/c i do, but there's plenty of time for that.) if what we really want is change, well. change starts with YOU.
i am all for seeing the republicans who engineered the damn-near downfall of this country be held accountable for their actions, and made to pay whatever price they will have to pay. (and that includes opportunistic bastards like joe lieberman.) lord knows that would definitely be a change. and i frankly don't think justice will be as well served as it should be, either. but the tyranny of the majority cuts both ways. i am well aware, and preach it often, that "they" don't want to live and let live -- they want to wipe us out. i am, however, not sure that gives us license to wipe THEM out. (hmm. unless they actually start shooting. then, all bets are off.)