Eight long years

We’ve regarded our leaders with dread and anxiety for so long, it has come to seem like the normal state of things. It has become a chronic pain, so much a part of our lives that we only really notice it when it subsides — and suddenly the relief is so overwhelming it becomes a tangible thing.

After eight years of an administration whose actions have run the gamut from stupid to venal, we will have a rational president who believes in things like, say, science. Who can string a succession of words together into a coherent sentence.

I confess, if McCain had won, my despair for this country would have been absolute. Instead, the cloud we’ve all been living under for so very long begins to lift, this morning.

The Republicans tried to win with hate and fear and division, and instead they failed. Spectacularly, definitively, repudiated in a landslide. And you know what I hope, at this moment? That Joe the Plumber becomes a widely-used symbol for all that has been wrong with America. That tv commentators invoke his name as shorthand for the politics of stupidity — “Maybe Joe the Plumber thinks we need to put all the Danish-Americans in internment camps, but no rational person agrees!” — and a heartfelt chuckle is had by all, and no more need be said, so universal is the understanding.

I very much want that to be the legacy of Joe the Plumber.

Off to the wilderness with them all. I have no doubt they’ll claw their way back eventually, but at the very least we’ve bought ourselves some breathing room, some time to try to repair the damage they’ve done to the very foundations of this country.