Posted by: Kate | November 5, 2008

WANTED: New Target for Mockery and Derision

Say what you will about the election – and this was a nasty, divisive one, in case you hadn’t noticed – but as of 11:00p Eastern Standard Time, the results seem pretty clear.

For those of you who voted for The Other Guy, you have my sincere condolences.  Really.  This was such a polarized and intense us-versus-them election, in which the people on either side literally had difficulty imagining how anyone on the other side could hold those views and yet be smart enough to tie their own shoes.  The answers seemed so obvious.  No matter which side you were on, it wasn’t a case of, “Well, yeah, but I can see your point, too,” it was a case of, “…and you’re WRONG.”

I voted for Obama.  Let’s just put that out there and not pretend a neutrality I don’t really feel.  I’m glad he won.

Both of my children watched their parents vote, and discussed – to the extent of their abilities – the voting process and what it means.  The history of the voting process, and some of the key issues in today’s vote.

There will not be a recount.  (This, all by itself, is reason to rejoice.  Anyone else remember 2000?)

Barack Obama won.

There are people within my sphere of acquaintance, people with whom I worked closely when I was webmaster of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (a subset of the American Counseling Association), whose current emotions are beyond my ability to imagine.  I spent a week in New Orleans in the spring of 2002 with some amazing, wonderful, astonishing people.  People who could not have voted in this election, within their own lifetimes.  It was only 45 years ago that many of the de facto obstacles to the rights of a person of color – almost any color except lily-white – were lifted.

This is a big deal.  I really wish I could be sharing in this celebration with them, even in some conspicuous white girl peripheral sort of way, just because it is a noteworthy occasion.  I have watched huge advances in technology, both on a theoretical level and on a practical, daily-basis level, just in the past decade.  But this was a sociological advance, and worth some pride.  It’s about time.

It would have been a big deal, too, if McCain had carried Palin up to that level of the political sphere.  We’re still less than a hundred years past national women’s suffrage, and as much as I fundamentally disagreed with many of Sarah Palin’s personal and political expressions, I cherish her right to hold those differing beliefs.  I cherish my own right to disagree, peacefully but out loud.

So, it’ll take some time, and I won’t be able to stop wondering whether McCain will suffer a serious illness before Obama will suffer an attempt on his life.  But I hope this nastiness and divisiveness will fade.  We need to bond together and find a common source of mockery, now that we’re done mocking each other.  I’m open to suggestions.



  1. Yay, Obama! Yay, us! We’ve all done this together!

    Let’s mock those who are negative and who think we can’t invent, create, and discover answers to our problems.

  2. Kate I couldn’t agree with you more. Someone just called me racist for feeling happy that the first black president EVER had been elected? WTF? Maybe it is reverse racism. Frankly I’m just glad it’s a Democrat. The US influence on us is huge and democratic politics are more within our way of thinking. Frankly, whilst I’m glad Obama made the cut, we need to remember that there’s a whole political machine and party behind him. All hope is on him now to deliver upon his election promises in a little more detail. We’re very happy in my little corner of the world! Cheers 🙂

  3. You took the thoughts right out of my head! I am so proud of Barack Obama…yet I fear for him. All of the men he mentioned in his speech, were incredible men and broke down walls for freedom…but they have all been killed.

    I couldn’t help but giggle when he mentioned bringing a puppy to the White House. I saw the excitement in his youngest daughter’s eyes- she’s almost too young to really, really understand how monumental her father’s achievement is…but she is absolutely beside herself about getting a puppy!

  4. About time someone besides a wealthy white male won the white house. YES! There’s so many things to fix and heal and hopefully partisanship can lessen as we bind together to bring America successfully into the future.

  5. Here in California, our joy is tempered by the fact that our voters have denied gays the right to marry — all in defense of “traditional marriage and family values.” It’s made tonight a bittersweet night for us.

    And yes, although I’ve not yet articulated this, I have those fears as well for the lives of Obama and his family. Just seems like we’re not *really* allowed to hope, you know???

  6. Editing my previous comment to add: I am in a very “traditional” marriage, mind you! But many of my friends are gay and married, some longer than we are (16 years and counting), with children and all the trappings of “traditional” marriages. So this is a painful night for so many of my friends — my neighborhood in Los Angeles has a HUGE gay/lesbian population.

  7. I gave my psych 101 students extra credit for voting. I told them “I don’t care who you vote for. Just vote. If you don’t get involved in the political process, you don’t have the right to complain when they screw something up…and they aaaalways screw something up.” When they asked me who I voted for, one of my students (a very sweet, naive fundie girl) said to me puzzled, “You’re the first white person I’ve talked to who voted for Obama.” I told her, “I’m not the only one. My mom, husband, friends, most of the well educated people I know voted for him.” What I wanted to say was, “Wow. Are you really that insulated? You’re the first reasonably intelligent person I’ve talked to who’s voting for the other guy.” I was proud of myself for being able to engage my frontal lobes enough not to blurt that out.

  8. What a night. I hope this is a turning point for our country; at the very least I feel proud and optimistic again … the first time in eight years.

    Annie, we won’t be moving to Canada now! 😉

  9. May I suggest Tawny Kitaen as a target for mockery? If not there’s always Paris Hilton. Or me.

  10. Mockery and derision… hmm. I vote we let mockery stand, for in its best form there is humor to be found in mockery (thank you, Tina Fey), and let derision fall, for derision brings nothing of merit to the table, only buttressing intolerance and hate.

    Just my two cents. I’m still on a feel-good high from the win, and looking to embrace unity!

  11. I’m just sad that Tina Fey won’t be able to do Palin on SNL.

    And you encapsulated the mood of this election very well.

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