The relief I feel over the end of this endless election, and the happiness I feel at its outcome, makes me want to jump up and dance a jig. Most of my friends feel the same. At the same time I know there are many in the country who feel just the opposite. They are depressed, shocked, numb, even outraged—especially since right-wing media had long been feeding the Romney-landslide meme. I feel sad for them. Losing is hard; losing something you believe in can be crushing.
This split in the American electorate is deeply concerning, and something we all need to work on. But just for today I'm not going to think about that. Like Scarlett, I'll do it tomorrow.
I'm happy today because Obama won, but it's more than that.
I'm happy that Romney gave a speech last night that was conciliatory, kind, and seemingly heartfelt. If he had spoken like that consistently it would have been a much tougher election.
I'm happy that women across the country won. We will soon have twenty female senators, a breakthrough number and an important milestone. One of them will be the first openly gay person to serve in the Senate, another will be the first Asian-American woman. One-hundred-forty women ran for House seats, and though I've been unable to pin down how many won, I'm happy to see so many women in the race, whatever their persuasion.
I'm happy that "legitimate" rape as a legitimate point of view has been disgraced and rejected, and that the platform that would have outlawed abortion, limited birth control, and eliminated funding for Planned Parenthood, has been defeated.
I'm happy that the next Supreme Court appointment will be made in a careful and considered manner and not handed to a political appointee with a hard right agenda.
I'm happy that Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and Obamacare are safe—or at least safer than they would have been under a Romney/Ryan administration. As one with a pre-existing condition, the likelihood that I would ever find private insurance under a voucher system is zero. And under Obamacare thirty million more Americans will have health care in 2014. That's worth cheering about.
I'm happy that the billions of dollars spent by multi-millionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, who were certain they could buy the election for Mr. Romney, seemed to have little effect. At least they contributed to the economy.
I'm happy that gay marriage passed in at least two states, that medical marijuana passed in Massachusetts, and that legalizing marijuana passed in Washington and Colorado—giving us all a chance to see how that will work.
And I'm especially happy that the deliberate attempts at voter suppression failed. In Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, where Republican governors and Secretaries of State did their best to impose egregious requirements and limit voting hours—actions which should be criminal—the people fought back, standing in line for hours and hours to cast their votes in defiance of those limits.
If I could I would shake every hand of every voter who had to wait in those lines. I'm happy they were there, that they were willing, and that they persevered. I am proud of them, and proud to be one of them, if only in spirit.
And finally, I'm really, really happy to say goodbye to Election 2012. And I'll be even happier if we can avoid discussing 2016 for at least a few weeks.