Following the election, I had some mixed feelings. I’ve made no secret of my conservative beliefs and background when it comes to politics. But my brand of conservatism does not exactly match up with either that espoused by George Bush or John McCain. I’m somewhat libertarian in much of my thinking which is far removed from Republican policies for the past 8 years. So I never felt like I had that much of a dog in the race. I did vote but it was all about where I live: in a world of exceptionalities. In the end, I knew Sarah Palin would be the most tireless advocate for children with disabilities ever. I’ve witnessed the power of such a determined parent more than once first hand. But when Obama won, I was not heart broken or crestfallen. I actually felt like I had witnessed something historic and perhaps far reaching in a positive way. I really hope he can unify the country. His speech was first rate in rhetoric as he talked about bringing people together. He really is a good orator and one couldn’t help but be hopeful.
However, many of Obama’s followers have built up over eight years of vindictiveness and resentment. Some of those resentments go back decades or even centuries. This was one thing I was totally unprepared for. I was not prepared to have such an outpouring of hostility towards conservatives after the election, where the victors are not looking ahead towards rebuilding the country so much as settling some old scores.
In 1968, a teacher named Jane Elliott began an experiment/exercise in the community of Riceville, Iowa. She took white 3rd grade children and taught them about discrimination using a technique that is not without controversy. You can see it here. It was the famous blue eye- brown eye lesson, where each group gets a taste of being either the oppressed minority or the oppressor for the day. I actually grew up just an hour or so away from Riceville, and that section of the country was pretty racist back then and many remnants still remain to this day. Discrimination happens everywhere in many forms, as I’ve learned in my life and again lately. Within minutes, the kids fell into their respective role of either the dominant culture or the one being dominated. And the next day when the roles were switched, some kids were anxious to settle some scores from the day before.
So now I feel like it’s my turn to wear the collar because a different group finds themselves in power. I think we are going to have a lot on our plate, as a nation. Too much to worry about petty differences. I’m willing to give the new guy a chance to prove he’s not a divider. But now it comes to me that the last guy our country elected said exactly the same thing. Forgive me for being too skeptical to believe all the hype.