With a week to go before the election, I'm having a burst of compassion for the many conservatives who are seriously depressed about the prospect of watching Barack Obama in the White House for the next four (or eight) years.
Believe me, I've been there. My wife too. We've felt your pain. In 2000. And again in 2004. So here's some advice from a progressive who didn't know if he could make it through a George Bush presidency:
You'll survive. When you wake up on November 5, the sun will still rise. Still, for a while you'll feel like there's nothing to live for, that the bottom has fallen out of your political life. You won't be able to understand how so many people voted for a second-rate candidate who, obviously, is going to drag this country down. Take a deep breath. Relax. Tell yourself: "this too shall pass."
That's what I did. And now it's happened. George Bush and John McCain are poised to pass out of the national awareness.
A new day is about to dawn, one where progressives dance and sing, while conservatives contemplate moving to a state with assisted suicide (that would be Oregon, where I live; but I'm sorry -- you have to be terminally ill to use the law, not just terminally depressed).
On cable news I've seen McCain supporters saying things like, "This country can't survive if Obama wins." I think to myself: My friends, we're on the same wavelength. You're just eight years behind my speaking the same words.
With a minor substitution: "Bush" for "Obama." I was wrong in 2000 and 2004, because the United States has been strong and resilient enough to make it through the mal-administraton of one of the worst presidents ever.
So Republicans, buck up.
I'm confident that Obama is going to be one of our best presidents. It's not going to take long for you to realize that your fears have been unfounded. And every time you see Joe Biden do something vice-presidential, be thankful that it isn't Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.
Yikes! That thought is so scary, I'm not sure what I'd do if it became reality.
Often progressives say, "I'd move to Canada." They may not mean it, but it makes them feel better to know that there's a way out of a national nightmare. There's a problem for conservatives, though: where do they go if Obama wins?
It isn't readily apparent what country is the equivalent of Canada for right-wingers. Fortunately, Chris Wilson of Slate has come up with some answers in "The Conservative's Canada: Where can Republicans threaten to move if Obama wins?"
Israel. Poland. The Cayman Islands. Or Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong. Australia and Ireland are other possibilities. Not as easy to get to as Canada, but each has some characteristics that would help sooth a conservative's Obama-stressed soul.
Personally, I like the idea in this article that disgruntled Republicans head north to Alaska, where they can soak up Palin's persona and pretend that she's V.P. rather than Governor.
(Another possibility: join Republicans for Obama and be happy the next four years.)