First, you should read this surreal article from "New York" about conservative activists and "intelligentsia" (if such a word could be applied) on a cruise ship, lamenting the loss of America to the Kenyan Muslim Socialist and his horde of greedy, selfish, amoral followers. Rome is crumbling and the Vandals and the Visigoths are at the gates! Speaking of usurpers to the throne...
The new face of America.
The America of Reagan was an America where the "takers" were minorities, women, the disadvantaged, the old, and the poor. Reagan taught Americans that belief in glory and institutions of violence were what made America great, not its citizenry, not communal values, not the land that sustains us, and most certainly not peace. It was okay to feel superior to your neighbor and to tear them down rather than bring yourself up. Reagan taught Americans that the rigorous drive to look at external reality with clear eyes, and govern based on that, was inferior to apocalyptic, pessimistic visions of the world and the people in it. Life was not about the spiritual journey to self fulfillment, souls guiding their own boats through the great river of existence, but rather the mad grab at power, money, and self worship. Even charity, to right wingers, is a product to commodify and quantize. An America where everyone wanted to be Mitt Romney, with the harsh reality that there really was only one.
This America has run its course. Intent leads to thought and thought leads to action. Action is the purest form of thought. If we look at the actions of America, it has lived out all of Reagan's fantasies. It has projected military power across the world with disastrous results for the lives of innocent people (not in every case obviously). The Soviet Union? Michael Jackson and bootlegged videos of soap operas set in California did more damage to that regime than Reagan could ever dream of. America spread violence through its media and it became a materialistic, unsustainable version of its former self. It no longer led the world through example. It's economy was based on bubbles (stock, housing, credit, student loan), not on anything of substantial and lasting value, but instead on the idea that life was about winning the lottery (this goes for everyone). But then again, how could it not be? It shipped away its jobs, i.e. people's purpose and hope for a materially safe existence, in the name of better trade ties and efficiency. This was so the John Galt's could snort their cocaine in the comfort of their own offices while turning psychotic watching numbers fly across a screen. The country's leaders stopped caring for their people and instead tried to cash out of a burning ship. We alienated the entire world and our economic boat was steered by a man who took a badly written novel and based an entire economy off of it.
That America is over. Thank the sky god. It was arrogant and confident in stupid ideas. Those who could speak the loudest were put on pedestals. The new America is pragmatic, realistic, confident rather than arrogant, diverse, aware of its multicultural roots, welcoming, humble, strategic, and proud of its mark on civilization. This America believes that freedom means safety. Freedom means working together, and freedom means there is room in society for everyone. Romney could never offer anything close to this vision. His followers truly believed that cutting off 47% of Americans to spite its own face was the right idea. Our thinking has changed. When we say we want democracy for all human beings, we actually mean it. When President Obama said that Egypt "was not a friend, but also not an enemy," it showed a huge break from the binary Cold War era. It was not a throwaway line. Not in the age of Youtube. The President isn't stupid; he knows that far right, conservative Egyptians were going to win the election. But that's Egypt's prerogative, and if we believe in democracy, we cannot choose the victors.
Make no mistake about it, empires decay and morph, rather than collapse in spectacular displays for movie going audiences. Their character remains because they've been on the earth so long. The Vandals and the Visigoths changed Roman culture; the empire lived on in fractured pieces and dropped into the sea chunk by chunk. What this means is you can only expect a cultural shift, a change in the way people look towards the future and how they evaluate their past. Do not let your will for the world to change blind you to what you see, both good and bad. Barack Obama is a man that thinks peace comes at the end of a sword. Before his tenure as President is up, hundreds more innocent people will be slaughtered in Northwestern Pakistan, people caught in the crossfire of the U.S. Army, Al-Qaeda, and the government of their own country that has little interest or ability to defend them (and in many cases wants to kill them just the same). I am strong enough to feel sympathy for them (even though some of them do mean me harm) and not have to recede into callous indifference to make sense of it or carry on with my life. I will never cheer for their deaths. We will still have U.S. hypocrisy in the Middle East, vis a vis Bahrain, and we might not ever see resolutions of longstanding conflicts like Israel and the Palestinians because those conflicts are stained in blood and hate.
This has nothing to do with Obama. He's not responsible for the Saudi's covert war in Yemen or Pakistan's inability to have a stable state. The rest of the world is still living in the shadow of the former empire and conflicts left unresolved around the middle of the century. Not everyone has the goals of peace and Starbucks, but it's slowly turning that way, and we have someone that believes in a new, saner America at the helm. Clean energy investment is up and we are shifting to an economy with greater access to the fruits of technology. We have a state that acts as a conduit for citizens to care for each other, and we will soon not be the richest country in the world with the worst health care system. The conservatives know this deep down inside, and they are afraid. They will try to regroup their forces, but they believe in aristocracy, inequality, and that freedom means freedom from the huddled masses. They are built to cling, and cling they will. No matter, we have a brighter future to live in.