Everyone else seems to be chiming in on the election results, so here’s my take:

Since WWII, 10 incumbent presidents ran for reelection (not counting Ford – he wasn’t elected and the post-Watergate backlash disqualifies him from this discussion). All but 2 – i.e. 80% – were victorious. In congressional races, the number is a staggering 98.6% for incumbents. The fact of this substantial built-in advantage reveals a tiny meaningful victory for all of Tuesday’s victorious incumbents. Hopefully, this should temper everyone’s feelings, pro and con, about Tuesday’s results.

A couple of days ago I went down my Facebook friends list to check out the ratio between right, left and center. I’m proud to say that my friends list is actually pretty balanced. I hope it stays that way. With that in mind:

To my center/left-of-center friends, excitement should be measured. While Obama has certainly pursued positive progressive policies that you’re well aware of, he’s expanded the CIA’s drone strikes, he signed NDAA, he kept Gitmo open, he kept the Patriot Act, he authorized targeted assassinations of American citizens without due process, he’s attacked whistleblowers with unprecedented vigor, he’s dramatically expanded the surveillance state and he is as beholden to money interests as any politician. And the gloating? Bad form: no one likes an asshole.

To my friends on the right: Here in the east, my right/republican friends are disappointed, but a healthy majority aren’t angry, they’re not expecting the ruin of America, they understand that diversity is a positive thing and they feel that the republican party needs to enter the 21st century. In other words, deep down they see Obama’s re-election as an opportunity and a challenge, not as the apocalypse. However many of my friends from the deep south and the west – again, not all but many – seem to be feeling exactly the opposite. I’ve been shocked by the anger and vitriol. People are posting that the end of the American way of life is upon us, that socialists are taking over, that America has changed to be a country that wants free stuff – especially cell phones – from “Santa Claus” (quoting Fox News), that death panels will determine who lives and dies and that the government is coming to seize your firearms. Fear.

Why is this? One can only speculate but I wonder if one factor has something to do with a study of the 2010 Census which determined the richest and poorest communities over 50,000 people in the US. I was shocked to see that my hometown, Monroe, La., was the 6th poorest community in America. Sixth! Numbers 3, 4 and 5 are in Georgia, Georgia and Alabama, respectively. Numbers 1 and 2 are in Texas. Numbers 7 and 8 are in Arkansas. The famed “ArkLaTex”. My friends in Monroe: as you know, the divide between people with money in north Monroe and the poor in south Monroe is massive, and divided by race – and by I-20. The fact that Monroe, according to the 2010 Census, is only 35% white and is one of the poorest cities in America reveals the extreme poverty experienced by people of color in the city. Your post-election comments on facebook reveal a level of fear coupled with institutional racial bias that, to those of us from outside the deep south, left and right, find quite disturbing.

A tough economy breeds scapegoating, fear and anger against people who are different. History is ripe with supporting examples.

Although I’m not holding my breath, I am holding out hope for two things: 1) That we in the center and on the left hold Obama accountable for all of his policies just as we would a republican president and that we pursue the full promise of this grand experiment, party be damned; and 2) That my right wing and republican friends in the deep south, especially in the ArkLaTex, take a deep breath and entertain a bit of the perspective that your conservative brethren in the east enjoy.

I hope.

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