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November 18, 2012
Finding a Silver Lining in Obama's America
I am not ashamed to admit it: I cried the night of the election. I cried even before the election was called, because I knew in my heart that it was over. I cried for my country, I cried for my faith, and I cried for the loss of what I imagined would be a life free from constant worry over what the government was going to do next to reduce liberty and freedom.
Reading all of the analysis and postmortems only made me feel more depressed. This election cycle, I saw far fewer Obama bumper stickers, so during my morning-after commute it was not easy to spot the perpetrators of my despair. I was left to guess -- "Hey, you in the SUV that you probably won't be allowed to drive in a few years, are you one? Did you vote for four more years of waiting for four more years for things to get better?"
I cried at work, telling coworkers it was my allergies. This is something that is very believable in Florida.
I started dividing my life by two dates: November 5 and November 7.
But then I started noticing something. The other night, I picked up dinner at one of the many roadside barbeque stands that permeate the part of Tampa where I live. The owner seemed positive and upbeat. I thought, "Does he not know how hard it is going to be to expand his business? Does he understand how difficult the government is going to make it for him to keep on smoking all those chickens and ribs and mullet?" (Remember, this is Florida.)
I went to the supermarket, and my favorites cashier waved hello and said, "How are you doing, sweetheart?" Again, I asked myself, "Doesn't she know what is going to happen to her health care?"
I went to a meeting last weekend at a hotel near the airport. When I walked in, I saw the lobby full of guests whom I easily identified, thanks to my near-obsession with TV bridal reality shows, as members of wedding parties. As they were all dashing off to make last-minute preparations, I thought, "There are still weddings? These people must have faith in the future if they still want to get married...right?"
After my meeting, I went to a nearby mall. When I walked in, I saw that the Christmas decorations were already up. I am one of those people who find Christmas decorations in early November an abomination and disrespectful to the next holiday in line, Thanksgiving...but this time, I found it comforting to see Santa Claus (the real one -- not the government-issued one) sitting in his overstuffed chair, waiting for the youngest among us to make their special requests. So to paraphrase Dr. Seuss and the Grinch, the election didn't stop Christmas from coming. It's coming.
I went to the food court and saw a long line at Chick-fil-A. I joined it. As usual, I received great service. The young man waiting on me was from the demographic that has been so constantly scrutinized of late. I said to myself, "Please , please don't grow up to be a Democrat." Hopefully he will learn, if he hasn't already, that working hard and doing a good job are the true ways to success.
While I ate my lunch, I noticed the family sitting at the table next to me. There was a little girl who seemed utterly enthralled with the dollar bill she was holding. I guessed that she hadn't yet realized how little it buys today! She was showing it off to her family and kept reading aloud the words "The United States of America."
Of course, I started to cry again (I need to buy stock in Kimberly-Clark). And then, finally, I remembered something. I remembered that despite everything, we Americans are a strong people, and we will find ways to get on with our lives. Life may not be the life many us wanted or voted for on November 6, 2012, but life will go on.
Gloria Gaynor sang, "I Will Survive." I just hope that the rest of us will as well.
Mary Durbin is a late-blooming conservative who lives and works in the Tampa area.
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