Reflections on the Morning After

There’s got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let’s keep on lookin’ for the light

—Maureen McGovern (from The Poseidon Adventure)

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Yes, there is a morning after. And I’m feeling hung over—not from party-going but from Party-following. Enduring the last several months of intense and often ugly electioneering has felt more than a tad like scrambling through a capsized vessel and lookin’ for the light. Happily, it seems this nation may have found some.

I greet the light hungrily. I am enormously relieved that “the political pendulum in American politics swung away from the right yesterday, putting an end to the 12-year Republican Revolution on Capitol Hill and delivering a sharp rebuke of President Bush and the Iraq war� (Washington Post). I also feel some measure of validation, as though my frantic pounding upon the hull in the darkness has finally been heard. It has been a long while since I’ve felt adequately heard or represented in this topsy-turvy country. For years now, my views—which, admittedly, are more liberal than most—have felt unduly marginalized and disrespected. My dissent against the destructively immoderate policies and practices of the Bush administration, and against those in Congress who stood in support or just stood by, has been largely met with sneers and smears. How often, of late, have those of us who have dared to express opposition been told that we are being unpatriotic and foolishly playing into the hands of the terrorists? Such ploys are all too reminiscent of the taunts of schoolyard bullies, belittling the manhood or character of those whom they would dominate. But, yesterday, for a change, it was the bullies who received a beating. Yesterday, they caught an earful.

And, today, after a dark and lonely journey, I see sunlight.

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