I understand there's an urge to put the bitterness and ugliness behind us and get on with the hope and change. I feel it, too, which is why the Smack-o-Matic took a much-deserved break on Election Night. In the coming months, we're going to have to turn some former adversaries into allies and work on building a strong, united America.
It's tempting to just forget it all. Forget the bitter attacks, the lies, the smears, the racism, the bigotry, the hatred, and the venom spewed by McCain's camp. Obama reached out his hand: why shouldn't we?
McCain gave a gracious concession speech. Hooray! His honor's back! Let's all be friends.
Not no, but fuck no.
The Cons aren't going gently into that good night, no matter how gracious they may appear at their moment of defeat. They think Americans want gracious, and so they'll give it to us. They know Dems will lap it up. They know they can slip the knife in when we're busy hugging them with bipartisan joy.
I have a prediction for you: every kindness shown a Dem by the Cons will be in service of regaining power. And if they don't regain enough power, they'll go back to their favorite tricks of character assassination, lies, and obstructionism. The racist bullshit will be neck-deep. They'll foot-drag and filibuster and do everything possible to keep Democrats from governing, and then blame the Dems when government comes to a standstill because of Con antics.
They've done it for the past two years. They won't stop now.
They'll consolidate their base around whisper campaigns based around the xenophobia and jingoism Palin spewed. Expect to hear much more about Obama the terrorist sympathizer, Obama the communist, Obama the Muslim. And expect innocent faces when we call them out on their bullshit.
Us? Lil ol' us? We'd never do such a thing, they'll say, while encouraging their surrogates to proceed at full steam.
It is going to be a vicious, ugly four years. Prepare for it. Don't let bygones be bygones because a man gave a flowery speech praising the man he attempted to not only defeat, but destroy.
Don't let it be forgotten that Sarah Palin whipped up lynch mobs, or that Michele Bachmann called for every liberal in Congress to be investigated to see if they were "anti-American."
We defeated McCain. We kicked Palin back to Alaska (and the fact that she's promised to come back will haunt my nightmares forevermore). We threw a lot of the rotten rethugs out of power, but a lot of them survived the reckoning. And they'll mount a comeback in 2010 if we let ourselves coast now. The Republicon majority wasn't permanent. Neither is the Democratic majority. And the Republicon party we face now is pared down to the worst of the worst.
Bigotry is alive and well. Arizona, Florida and California voters outlawed same-sex marriage. Arkansas voters denied gays the right to adopt. The success with those four disgusting initiatives will only embolden the culture warriors. They will stop at nothing to impose their morality on the rest of us. Never forget that most of us are anathema in their eyes.
And our government is still infested with Bush cronies, the kind of people who cheer torture, eviscerate civil liberties, and want to bring America into the Dark Ages.
All you need to know about what we face, and how likely it is we'll find friends among the Republicons, can be learned by watching McCain and Obama's speeches from last night.
Obama's crowds cheered McCain, if not wholeheartedly.
McCain's crowds booed Obama. Over and over and over again.
Never forget what Republicon politicians have done. Never forget the egregious abuses of the last eight years. Never forget what their base is capable of doing.
There are moderates we'll be able to enfold with open arms. If we try that with the true believers, we'd best be expecting a knife in the back.
Obama knows this. Why the fuck else do you think he asked Rahm Emanuel to be his chief-of-staff?
Until the Republicons kick out their lunatic fringe, grow up, and decide to play nice with others, there's no fucking way we should forgive, and we should never, ever forget.