Based on conversations I’ve had, hysterical posts on Facebook I’ve seen, and alarming news stories I’ve read, the panic at the re-election of President Obama among conservatives is more dramatic than possibly any presidential election in our nation’s history. People are still posting rants, unfriending each other, calling the President the anti-Christ, and signing petitions to secede. The GOP is still trying to save face, claiming the reason they didn’t win isn’t because of the issues, but because of the “urban vote” and because Obama gave away “gifts”. A few seem to be trying to get on the “maybe we should stop demonizing everyone who isn’t like us” bandwagon, but they need more practice.
The younger generation, though, are the most accepting of the outcome, even if they didn’t vote for Obama. The main group who seem disappointed to the point of tears, rage, or war is those older white heterosexuals; but I do know some who are not freaking out, and some who did vote for Obama. And some voters just truly believe that if a politician claims faith in God, anything that comes out of their mouth is infallible. (This would almost make sense except for the fact that both candidates usually say they are some kind of Christian in every election.) I would never stereotype the entire demographic of white men, but it’s safe to say that based on exit poll percentages alone, the Republican party has made a majority of women, blacks, Latinos, gays, and any group perceived as a “minority” feel disenfranchised. (73 % of all white people voted Romney, but 93% of black people, 90% of LGBT, 73% of Latinos, and 53% of all women voted Obama.)
Years ago, Republicans must have decided that the way to get power was to figure out whichever group of Americans was the “majority” and pander to them. Obviously, the group they chose was conservative white male heterosexual Christians. But their mistake was in demonizing and bullying every single other kind of person. Now those of us who don’t fit into that mold have proven we outnumber the GOP voting base. The GOP claims they don’t support issues related to so-called minorities because those groups don’t vote . . . and we have consistently proven them wrong in the new millennium.
I’ve also heard that the GOP might have some good ideas about how our country should run, but whatever those ideas are get overshadowed by their message of disdain for 47 per cent of the nation and stupid definitions of rape. If their party is to have a future at all, they have to change their platform . . . and in a real way, not the lying, fake way where GOP politicians claim to be Christians to get that Christian vote, claim to want to make abortion illegal just to get the anti-choice vote, and basically act the way Romney did, which is to pretend he believed whatever way the group of people he stood in front of at any given moment believed.
Radical right-wing groups are tearing the GOP apart. As an Indiana citizen, unfortunately I have heard a lot of the backlash by people who still aren’t happy with Obama in the White House just because of the color of his skin. There are also rumors going around about big chain restaurants threatening to cut their employees’ hours because of Obama Care. While this may be true, it’s not actually new; many restaurants already consider most of their employees “part time”, and make sure they don’t get over 39 hours a week, just so they don’t qualify for insurance. I used to work in restaurants, so I know this practice has been going on for at least ten years, and probably much longer! But despite of all this negativity, the younger voters here and across the country overwhelmingly agree on being open-minded about reformed health care, social issues, acceptance of diversity, and gay rights. Regardless of the hard times we’re going through right now, we are looking at a bright future.
To those who are signing secession petitions, it’s tempting to remember that those same kinds of people have been yelling for others angered over civil or gay rights to go back to where they came from or move to Canada. Maybe now they need to be the ones to hear that they are the ones who should leave. There are even counter-petitions calling for the deportation of secessionists. But I don’t think there is really anything to worry about; people signed these petitions not only for Obama’s first term, but also when George H.W. Bush got re-elected. As usual, the truth about what our hopes and dreams are for this nation need to overcome the messages of fear and the lies.
I think what we all really want is for the people who are unhappy to give this next term a chance. If we truly work together there will be a prosperous future for us all. At least no one can say people aren’t interested in politics anymore!
Kim Flowers is an author from Indiana. Her YA novel “No Turning Back” is available in e-book and paperback through Queerteen Press. (www.queerteen-press.com)