So, what if he loses?
Who? John McCain? Barack Obama?
Depending on your point of view, the thought of loss right now is either joyful or terrifying, vindicating or victimizing.
Why even think about losing? Because it’s time to think about uniting. I don’t know about you, but if I have to look at one more map with Red States and Blue States I might just … turn Purple! Two long years of campaigning have revealed us — the US — as a deeply committed nation, passionate about our democracy, universally hailing this election as a time of much-needed change. But the long presidential campaign season has also exposed and exacerbated some of the worst about us — the US — our ideological divisions between the coasts and the middle, the mean spirited views of opponents, the negative campaigns and insidious bias against people who are Black, Female, Older, Liberal, Conservative, Rich, Poor, Veteran, Pacifist, Religious, Agnostic, Citizen, Immigrant, Washington Elite and “Real” American.
Having drawn so many hard lines, it’s time to get out some very big erasers. Whoever wins on Tuesday is going to have an immediate leadership challenge: to get everyone out of their corners and down from the ledges and back to the center which is the only place where a truly good society can take root.
So, why think about losing? Because each of us, all 300 million + American citizens, needs to have a new “game face” ready to put on come Wednesday morning. This is a face that needs to be open, generous and free of hostility to “the other side” whatever that side might be.
It’s better to be ready now, to practice shaping that expression a few days early, since it will be so hard to learn how to do it in the face of great disappointment. Half of the country will have a real hard time. And the other half would be wise to be humble.
So, what if Obama loses? Seriously. It could happen. Will there be strife in the streets, a renewal of racial conflict, chaos in the polity? Or, will reason prevail, albeit a grave disappointment for many, but emotion channeled into other forms of political action, moving ahead with the change agenda anyway, a rally to the cause constructively, a sense that this is not an end but a beginning?
What if McCain loses? This has been the more plausible scenario for a while, given the polls. Will Joe Sixpack Nation go on a rampage, perhaps borrowing some of Joe the Plumber’s wrenches to throw into the political works? Or, will the lessons of the last six months provide the basis for some sensible soul-searching about what has become of the conservative agenda now splintered into so many extreme interest groups, as the Democrats once were?
What if Nader wins? Just thought I’d ask!
The gravest danger we face come November 5 is a nation more deeply divided than ever before, with extremists on both sides putting more and more pressure on the center. All of us, no matter our favorite horse in this race, have an obligation to come together to support the new president, whoever wins.
So, if need be, start making a padded room now in case you need to go somewhere to scream on Wednesday. Then, come out with your game face on, ready to start the real campaign to get this country moving in the right direction.
MAKE VOTING YOUR TOP PRIORITY ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4
Trinity Community: we are open for regular classes and all business, but everyone may take the time they need to vote or participate in election-related activities. ELECTION CENTRAL will be on all day in Social Hall. Watch election results at night in Cuvilly Lounge. Wednesday debriefing… stay tuned for time and location!
For more information about the election, times of local polling places, and the candidates: