It seems like only yesterday that a young Barack Obama was ushered into the White House bringing a new spirit of hope and change to our country. Americans from all walks of life came together to celebrate the first African-American president. Even the usually jaded politicians on Capitol Hill promised cooperation. Senate leader Mitch McConnell promised that he would work closely with Obama for the good of our nation. You remember that, right? Good times!
Or maybe we remember what McConnell really said: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." As soon as Obama was elected, the Republicans in Congress organized to block Obama on every front. "If he was for it, we had to be against it," said Sen. George Voinovich. Vice President Joe Biden was told by a Republican confidant, "For the next two years, we can't let you succeed in anything." So the current calls for unity behind the president-elect ring hollow. A case in point is the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland, an eminently qualified moderate who was denied even a hearing simply because he was nominated by President Obama.
The ferocity in which President Obama has been blocked causes some to wonder if the motivation is racism. After all, the so-called birther movement tried to convince the public that Obama was actually Kenyan, not American. Others spread the rumors that he was a Muslim. Certainly, his wife and daughters have had to endure plenty of racially derogatory comments unfit for this publication. This epidemic of hate language was continued against "crooked" Hillary Clinton, with slogans such as Killary and Hilliary. So is it racism, sexism or something else?
Ironically, the same people who so viciously maligned President Obama and Secretary Clinton are now calling on Democrats to "get over it." There is one word for that attitude — hypocrisy. Sorry folks, you can't have it both ways. You can't spend eight years whining about how the "libtards" are ruining America and now expect a kumbaya moment behind a man who lost the popular vote, decisively. It doesn't work that way.
A historical look at the "get over it" mentality might be useful. Imagine in 1872 if, after Susan B. Anthony's arrest for voting, she was told, "Get over it! A woman's place is in the home." If she had listened we might not have the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Imagine if Rosa Parks had acquiesced to the racism of her time. "You're lucky you're even allowed on the bus. Give up your seat, and get over it." And in 1963 nobody dared say, "Sure Dr. King, we all have dreams, just as long as you know your place. Get over it, and don't be so uppity!" This country has grown and thrived to be the great nation it is because people of good courage and conscience don't get over injustice and bigotry. They fight it, calling it for what it is.
Another line we hear is to give Trump a chance. Surely he will surround himself with the best people and will moderate his views. Instead of draining the swamp, he is restocking it with some of the most deplorable Washington insiders and corporate lobbyists around. Many are known to be racist or anti-Muslim or both. Most have been on the payroll of major industries or are billionaires. All are darlings of the alt-right, more suitable to a cesspool than a swamp. However, the biggest problem is that many Americans don't seem to know or care. Perhaps it is because true news reporting has been delegitimized for so long, we don't know the difference between fact and fiction. About 62 percent of adults get their news from social media. A faux news Facebook meme carries as much weight as actual journalism for too many Americans.
The election is finally over, but sadly the divisiveness cultivated for the past eight years will no doubt continue. Assigning blame may not accomplish much, for there is plenty of blame to go around. Both the Democratic and Republican parties allowed their respective candidates to rise to the top, despite their obvious flaws and the widespread dislike for both individuals. Did third-party candidates act as spoilers? Did the antiquated Electoral College negate the will of the people by selecting the popular vote loser? It's hard to say, but one thing is absolutely certain. Roughly 47 percent of the eligible voters did not bother to vote. Liberal elitism won't kill democracy; neither will conservative ideology. Ignorance and apathy will.