Even though I have not yet attained to my complete 100% Buddha Nature, I'm compassionate enough (just barely, but enough) to reach out to almost half of American voters and say, echoing my idol Bill Clinton:
I feel your pain.
Not as much as you do, because you're you and I'm me. But I know how badly I would be feeling at the moment if Mitt Romney had been elected president last Tuesday instead of Barack Obama.So I can easily empathize with the disappointment of those who were intensely looking forward to Romney winning.
I was nervous myself for several hours as I checked election returns on my television, iPhone, and computer, obsessively bouncing back and forth between MSNBC, Twitter feed, Daily Kos, NY Times iPhone app, and other information sources.
Waking up on Wednesday morning, I was aware of a fresh feeling: relief.
A new political day had dawned. Four years of not worrying about who the president would be stretched before me. Life seemed steadier, calmer, more certain. I wasn't completely worry-free, but a lot more so than the day before.
What bothers me, though, is that our country has become a place where after a presidential election so many Americans are either elated or depressed. This reflects the polarization of our politics. Moderation is much diminished, mostly owing to conservatives moving much more to the right than liberals have moved to the left.
The two major parties are much further apart now.
So even moderate candidates like Barack Obama (yes, believe it; Obama is a moderate; just ask the many true liberals I know) tend to be looked upon as either heavenly or hellish by their supporters and opponents. I'd much prefer that some sort of in-between realm be the psychological post-election destination for a clear majority of Americans.
Mild pleasure or mild disappointment. Feelings of "Yeah, things will be fine, but not perfect" or "Yeah, things will be not so good, but all right."
Wouldn't it be nice if two-thirds or even three-fourths of voters could say after a presidential election, "I can live with that guy/gal"? This could happen if both parties, Republican and Democratic, gravitate toward the center-right or center-left, eschewing extremism, respecting facts, embracing scientific consensus.
Most Democrats would have little or no problem with this. It's the Republican presidential candidates who have to make their way through very right-wing Tea Party barriers in the GOP primary, which forces them to take positions that put them way out of the moderate mainstream.
Thus while I sincerely do feel the pain of Romney voters, I also feel that the suffering of Republicans is largely self-imposed.
Their candidate lost because he was too extreme.
And Romney became extreme, after a thoroughly moderate term as Massachusetts governor, when he embraced the reality of global warming and a woman's right to choose, having been forced to become someone who he was not in order to appeal to Republican voters who no longer tolerate moderates.