Wednesday morning, November 7, 2012, I awoke to a beautiful sunrise coming up over the trees that outline the field behind my home. I could already hear the hustle of workers making their way to work along the highway. An early morning breakfast at my parent's home was on the agenda, but I noticed I was in no hurry to arrive. With all the joy, and pride, and success over the previous nights re-election of President Obama, there was a gnawing dread that I could not release.
The night before, I received a drunken phone call from a cousin just before the election was called for Obama. When he called, his first words were not "Hello," or "What's going on?" In fact, when I answered the phone, he said nothing. It wasn't until I repeated "Hello" multiple times that he finally spoke. I say spoke, I mean wailed.
"I just... I just need someone to talk to. I just... I can't believe I'm sitting here watching America go straight to Hell." It wasn't anger in his voice. It was fear. It was heartbreak. And it was stupid.
(More after the squiggly)
"Are you serious? You're calling me to comfort you? Um, you do know who you just called don't you?"
He said he knew. He reeled back in his pretentious devastation, and irrational rambling. We talked about nothing. He laughed inappropriately. He would check out of the conversation, and I would have to reel him back in.
"What are you doing?" I asked. "Why would you call me and not even be engaged in the conversation?"
"I'm sorry," he said. "I'm trying to watch the news, read blogs and talk to you at the same time. I'm trying to find someone with accurate information!"
I assured him his frantic, drunken search for the truth was nearing the end. As the results continued to pour in, it was evident Obama would walk away the winner. He grew angry at the suggestion.
"I'm not ready to call it yet," he yelled. "It's too close to call this early!"
"It's not that close. In fact, I'm surprised it hasn't been called yet."
"You're crazy. It's too close. We don't know how this is going to end. You're projecting what you want. We probably won't know for days!"
And that is when I sent him over the edge.
"Let's think about this a minute. You and I have put a lot of energy into our guys. A lot. And today, we see the results of that work, right? You called me, right? You called frantic and wailing, and I seem pretty upbeat, don't I? Doesn't that tell you, even you know the direction this is heading?"
He flipped. He didn't want to talk anymore. "I can't do this anymore! I can't watch this shit! I can't watch America go to Hell! This is shit! America is dead."
Except, she wasn't dead. She was just experiencing irrational waves of an over-reaction brought on by people who welcomed being lied to by their brand of news, and their brand of experts.
To be honest, I didn't know they really believed Romney would win. I thought it was all bluster. I thought they knew deep down, this was a foregone conclusion. It wouldn't be long until I realized it was a full-blown meltdown. That they really did believe Romney would pull it off. Their disappointment was not feigned emotion. It was real. And really, really irrational. It was so irrational another cousin told those of us who voted for Obama that we had just signed her son's death warrant. She's lost one already, and two others are horrifically struggling with the same disease, and she is dependent on medicaid to pay for their costly medicines and healthcare. It might have been a good opportunity to explain some things to her about medicaid, but... you just cannot rationalize with the irrational. I have many friends moving. Some to Canada, some to Switzerland, and many to Australia. I didn't tell them Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan might be a more comfortable fit concerning social issues. My stepmother said I voted for Satan, and that we are now The United States of Obama. Several family members are stockpiling guns and ammunition. The good news is, someone is going to have to be general, and they are all proving so naive and foolish, I'm not sure they could pull off a coup of McDonalds, much less America.
But back to breakfast with my parents. After I dragged around for an hour, I knew I couldn't put it off any longer. Plus, there would be bacon. But I was still facing dread. Based on the response of other friends and family members, I didn't know if I would walk in on them rolled up in the floor in fetal positions mumbling obsceneties between sobs, or if I would be walking into a rage.
I knocked on the door. To my surprise, I heard both my mother and step-dad say cheerfully, "Come in!"
I guess paranoia is contagious. I instantly thought, "Ambush."
And in a way, it sort of was. With hugs! My mother stood up and smiled, then hugged me and said, "I know you're proud today."
And she was right. I was proud that Barack Obama was still President. And I was proud my parents, Republican Oklahomans, had not bought into the bologna.
I write this for a reason. It's a reason I hope we can all keep in mind over the next 2 years, and 4 years. Yes, there is a loud, and maybe even majority voice within the Republican party that has voluntarily given up their rationale, and are willing to demean and mock present day America. But there are those, those like my mother and stepdad, who are growing increasingly disillusioned with today's Republican representation-- the representation that says America wants to move further "right". Let's not write them off. Let's not include them in sweeping generalizations, and assume they all are the same. No, let's do better. Let's get them on our side. Because honestly, they almost are. Eyes opening slowly, hope rising unexpectedly, views shifting gradually. And that, too, makes me proud.