Christine M. Flowers: Darkness after Obama's election shows country's deep division

Posted: November 09, 2012

WHEN I WOKE up Wednesday morning, it was dark. There was something ominous about that midweek morning, something that I hadn't felt in many years, something that I hadn't even felt when my father died decades ago. It was sense of intangible, yet visceral, loss.

Barack Obama will have four more years to lead this country. Millions are happy about that fact, millions worked to make it a reality, millions would have wept had Mitt Romney won the election. I understand that I am on one side of a deep divide, a polarization that is similar in nature - if not in degree - to that which existed during the Civil War. We aren't ready to shoot our brothers and sisters who disagree with us, thank God. But there is a certain level of enmity that can't be chalked up to political difference.

This is personal.

I do not think Barack Obama is a Muslim, nor do I believe he harbors the heart of a communist. I know he is a good father, a loving husband, a loyal (if somewhat opportunistic) friend. I do not, in fact, hate Barack Obama. I do, however, hate what he will be able to do to this country that I now mourn.

You might think that this is sour grapes, the ravings of a woman who fought so hard to get her candidate elected and in the end came up short. There is probably some of that in my sense of loss. I felt it in 2008, after heroic John McCain was sent home on a tidal wave of hope and change. But this time, this year, it's different.

Before, I resented the fact that a neophyte who had never done anything exceptional was given the greatest prize we can bestow on a fellow citizen, the chance to lead us. He is my age, just six months my senior, and whether it was envy that a contemporary had accomplished this miracle or shock that he was able to fool so many into believing he was qualified for office, I was annoyed. But I was willing to sit back and see where he would take us, hoping that his talk of bipartisanship and civic engagement came from a servant's heart.

As many of us learned, it did not. Barack Obama has made an art of blaming others for his failures, and doesn't take kindly to being challenged on the things he wants. He may put them in terms of what this country "needs," but make no mistake: this president has a personal agenda, one that fits in with his liberal philosophy of a seamless and overreaching government. This is where universal health care comes from, the idea that the government can take money from Peter to insure Paul, even if Peter can't afford it and Paul doesn't want it.

He has also made it clear that our once-solid relationships with allies like Great Britain and Israel are less important than our seeming flexibility with predators like Iran, Syria and, as we have tragically seen, Libya. The vaunted Arab Spring? Perhaps he has noticed that it turned into a frigid and deadly winter.

But he's too busy worrying about other things. Like whether women are able to have fulfilling sex lives. To ensure that we can, he's forced employers to pay for our birth control. What a fellow! But then, when asked about religious liberty, he hems and haws and moves on to the next subject.

It's usually about how the other person who is richer than you needs to share because too much wealth in one place (even if legitimately earned) is a bad thing. No longer is this the country where you work hard and reap the rewards. We have discovered, thanks to the president, the redistribution solution.

America has never been a perfect place. Segregation is just the most obvious, and most egregious, of its moral failures. But there has always been this sense that each person has within him the potential for greatness, and that this does not depend on siphoning off resources from others. We have always tried to take care of our own, but demanded that they also take care of themselves. We have been loyal to our friends, and reverent toward our separate deities.

On Wednesday, I felt that country slipping further away. And it was dark. But then I remembered the words of Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night . . . rage, rage, against the dying of the light.

And so, I will.


Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer.

Email: cflowers1961@gmail.com

Blog: philly.com/flowers

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