Start with an Apology

A blogger has posted an online photo essay titled "52 to 48 with Love" in an effort to bring blue- and red-staters together in a post-election "gesture of reconciliation." The campaign by blogger ZeFrank consists of a series of photographs of mostly Obama supporters holding up handwritten signs with messages aimed at Republicans. (The numbers refer to the percentage of the vote received by Obama and McCain, respectively.)

A sampling of the signs includes:

"I know you're angry and scared but please, please just give him a chance. I love you."

"Let's vow to be gentler, kinder, and more understanding together."

"I may not agree with what you have to say but I will fight for your right to say it (really)."

"Dear 48, Now that this is over, can we both put our country first? Yes, we can! Love, 52"

Will the campaign work? Many Republicans are bitterly angry over how George W. Bush was treated for 8 years, and more recently, Sarah Palin, and aren't in the mood for reconciliation. The campaign may strike some people as encouraging, but for many others it is nothing but a hollow gesture. As one 48er argued in his own photo response, "You don't make our eight years impossible and then expect yours to be a time of healing. In short – no deal."

I have a suggestion for how reconciliation might better be approached. Obama supporters need first to apologize for their mistreatment and abuse of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin, which was at times vicious and gratuitous. Their apology can and should extend to other political enemies as well, such as Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Karl Rove, John McCain, and Scooter Libby, whose career they wrecked.

If Obama supporters are sincere in their desire for healing, an apology should be the starting point, not a cute campaign built on bromides. Instead of "Please, can't we all get along?" we should be reading, "Please forgive us for the terrible things we said and did."
A blogger has posted an online photo essay titled "52 to 48 with Love" in an effort to bring blue- and red-staters together in a post-election "gesture of reconciliation." The campaign by blogger ZeFrank consists of a series of photographs of mostly Obama supporters holding up handwritten signs with messages aimed at Republicans. (The numbers refer to the percentage of the vote received by Obama and McCain, respectively.)

A sampling of the signs includes:

"I know you're angry and scared but please, please just give him a chance. I love you."

"Let's vow to be gentler, kinder, and more understanding together."

"I may not agree with what you have to say but I will fight for your right to say it (really)."

"Dear 48, Now that this is over, can we both put our country first? Yes, we can! Love, 52"

Will the campaign work? Many Republicans are bitterly angry over how George W. Bush was treated for 8 years, and more recently, Sarah Palin, and aren't in the mood for reconciliation. The campaign may strike some people as encouraging, but for many others it is nothing but a hollow gesture. As one 48er argued in his own photo response, "You don't make our eight years impossible and then expect yours to be a time of healing. In short – no deal."

I have a suggestion for how reconciliation might better be approached. Obama supporters need first to apologize for their mistreatment and abuse of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin, which was at times vicious and gratuitous. Their apology can and should extend to other political enemies as well, such as Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Karl Rove, John McCain, and Scooter Libby, whose career they wrecked.

If Obama supporters are sincere in their desire for healing, an apology should be the starting point, not a cute campaign built on bromides. Instead of "Please, can't we all get along?" we should be reading, "Please forgive us for the terrible things we said and did."