OK, American readers: You voted, right?
What did you think of the results?
Quite a mandate, electorally speaking, wouldn't you say?
I had a thought as I watched the speeches by both McCain and Obama a few hours ago; and it was not so much about the speeches themselves as the audience. McCain's speech had the kind of tone, substance, and delivery that he should have given to his speeches before the election. It brought out his integrity. The election could have been much closer if he and his campaign team had presented him as such for the past two months. His emotional mention of the passing of Obama's grandmother, just the day before the election, exhibited honest empathy, compassion, and caring for Obama and others who have to deal with such tragedies.
The audience exhibited almost none of the qualities McCain was displaying on stage. At the mention of Obama's name they booed loudly, forcing McCain to gesture them to stop. The look on his face was scolding. It looked as if he would verbally reprimand them. It showed that McCain is not what is wrong with the Republican party, but its members and supporters. They are the high school bullies, the partisan ones, the ones who refuse to see America change to face the challenges of the realities of the new world economically, politically, socially, and environmentally.
Surely Obama crowds booed McCain, you say. If they did, I am unable to find any recorded evidence of it through internet searches. Page after page of search results are all McCain crowds booing and then booing McCain himself when he tells them to be respectful. Republican crowds are like unruly, problem children.
Surely, they received a message tonight. But will they remember it tomorrow? Do they even realize they are so on the wrong side? And no, I'm not talking politics here! I'm talking respect.
The crowd at Obama's speech in Chicago's Grant Park politely applauded when Obama spoke of McCain.
What's the deal? Well, certainly it is easier not to react inappropriately when your candidate wins, but it goes deeper than that I think. Perhaps it is because of what I said at the beginning. McCain's concession speech tonight had tone, substance, and delivery. Obama has been consistent throughout his campaign in his message, style of delivery, and behavior. His audiences listen, pay attention, and absorb the message. His speeches inspire and his supporters come away with a sense of renewed purpose, of hope, and a desire to make a difference for the good of their home, neighborhood, city, or country. To McCain's supporters, it was all like a high school sporting event. Whooping, hollering, the empty chanting of "U-S-A, U-S-A..." normally heard at Olympic hockey games, and even people shouting that Obama should be killed.
It is the Republican party and its supporters that are truly frightening, ugly people. Their behavior has exhibited the worst of America. In a last-minute act of desperation on the morning of elections in Miami, they had robo calls going out to the Cuban communities saying Fidel Castro had endorsed Obama!
McCain ought to join his friend Joe Lieberman as an Independent, leaving the party of Lincoln (which no longer represents much of what Lincoln upheld).
That would be truly Maverick. It would also crush the party. But maybe that's what is needed to bring it back to some sense of respectability. It would cleanse it of the greed, corruption, lying, hypocrisy, and contempt for the law (US and international) it has come to represent. And maybe (just maybe) they could teach the party members some manners and respect along the way.