U.S.A.

5th November 2008

Four years ago, Bryan and I were in Boston listening to Senator Kerry’s concession speech. We put a lot into that election, and losing was rough. It’s only gotten more difficult since Katrina and the recent economic meltdown.

I was touched by Senator McCain’s concession speech last night. For too long, our politicians have been focused on winning at any cost, even at the expense of the very ideals that inspired them to lead. McCain’s grace and humility in the face of defeat was a reminder that winning can’t confer honor, and defeat needn’t diminish us.

So much has changed for me and Bryan since 2004, and so much has changed for our nation. But the post I wrote coming home from Boston that year is still true for me.

To my fellow U.S. citizens, however you voted, I know you only want the best for your family, and for your country. And no matter what your political affiliation, you and I are still on the same team.

Go America.

31 thoughts on “U.S.A.

  1. JP

    Thank you for this. Every person is driven by the beliefs they either grew up with or ones they have come to on their own. The beliefs they feel are right for themselves and their families. Obviously, you have those people who do not, but I appreciated your point. Differences in opinion does not mean you have to be on different teams. Well said.

  2. Penne

    Lovely sentiment. I felt so much hostility this election – and it’s so good to hear someone else grateful for the right to have, and speak of, a differing opinion. Thank you.

  3. steph

    yes! What you said! What McCain said! Absolutely.

    Ze Frank is working on a project to find a way for Obama supporters to reach out and reconcile with McCain supporters. Can it be done? All this campaigning has done a lot of damage, and there are definitely some wounded egos today.

    I honestly think that as he chooses his cabinet, things will come together – he says it will be bipartisan, and that will really help.

  4. HouseofJules

    I could not agree more. Bravo to McCain, and bravo to our country! I couldn’t help but sing that “America, F**K YEAH!” song from Team America World Police last night after all the excitement. It just seemed to fit the mood.
    Jules
    House of Jules

  5. Heather-in-Australia

    Hi Maggie, I find your post touching. I’m obviously not American but the choices of one country, particularly the US, will ripple-effect other countries, of course. I cannot put into words the hope and joy I feel at the results of the presedential election (or my admiration of McCain’s grace in defeat) & the general feeling here is the same. Something magical has happened, something profound has shifted.

    I was watching the direct CNN feed here on our TV screens with my 5 month old daughter Josephine sleeping beside me, weeping with quiet joy that she is part of a generation that has learned and embraced change in a manner, as your post so beautifully captures, that hopefully will inspire differing hearts to beat for the common good.

  6. Abby

    Thank you so much for such a lovely post. Yours is the first I’ve read that isn’t divisive (even if not intended to be) or gloating. You guys are one classy family!

  7. mattjank

    What Abby said. While we may not agree, we can still be friends. So many get caught up in winning and taking the bull by the horns, that this made my day.
    I just hope that there will be an honest reach across the aisle when the new administration sits in.

  8. bre

    I’ll be another person to congratulate you for a wonderfully written post – these are the feelings we need to have for each other if we actually want to be a united nation.

    thank you !

  9. rhinestone

    This is a day for rejoicing, and healing, and optimism and warmth. That said, fuck John McCain. Don’t be so taken by what are merely his most recent words. His words and actions over the past 8 years — and especially the past 18 months — are part of the reason we NEED so much healing now. He supported, in lockstep, the most disastrous Presidentcy in American history. He ran the dirtiest campaign in modern American history. His “touching” concession speech is meant to serve one purpose only: to get people like you (and me) to forgive him for being such an unmitigated cocksucker, so he can regain some credibility in Washington. I do not forgive him. He’s a pure scumbag. I’m guessing you have not read the Rolling Stone piece on him (“Make-Believe Maverick”)? Because if you had — especially as a woman — I doubt you’d be so charitable toward him. Let him slink back to the desert with that chisel of a wife and expire. Let the life and times — and campaign tactics — of “McNasty” serve as a cautionary tale to those who’d follow in his footsteps. President-Elect Obama crushed him. Good fucking riddance.

  10. Lyz

    Maggie, thanks for not treating McCain supporters as though they are idiots or evil.

    If we all thought the same way, we wouldn’t need an election at all. And, of course, we’d be a heckuva lot more boring.

    I really enjoy your blog, and will continue to do so, in part because of this post. Thanks!

  11. Michelle

    I want so much to be experiencing pure elation, but as I listen to the yells and car honks of a pro-gay-marriage rally outside my door, I also realize how very far we have to go…

  12. Mevr. Haus

    Young people have never held our future more (look carefully at how they voted). Someday this will extend to ‘federal’ rights for all, not only in my beloved place of origin–where I cannot live because my spouse is foreign and also female–a state not so blue as it seems. If one thinks their god consecrates something that denies extremely basic rights to other productive, law-abiding, non-violent citizens (and parents), they have the right in America to do so…but the lording it over will end.
    Thank god almighty for San Francisco.

  13. Kimberly

    Thanks, Maggie. I, too, was a McCain voter (one tiny drop of red in a very blue state!) and the internet has been not very nice to me. Not my ideas, but to me.

    I’m so glad it’s over. And I look forward to cleansing our palate from the 8 years of mess we just had and moving on together as a country.

  14. Daddy Scratches

    I know it is very difficult completely impossible to say if that past four years were a price worth paying for the epic and historic thing that has now come to pass, but from a purely gut-reaction level, I must say that, when I’ve seen Kerry on the television the past couple of days, I have thought to myself how comparatively two-dimensional a Kerry victory and presidency now seems in retrospect.

  15. Daddy Scratches

    Epilogue: The words “very difficult” in the first sentence of my comment above are supposed to have a line through them, because I was trying to be all slick with the HTML … but Maggie’s comments apparently aren’t down with the HTML, so now I look silly, not slick. Also, that same sentence should read “… if *the* past four years,” not “… if *that* past four years” … and I’m sure there are additional mistakes, and I know that commenting on one’s own comment simply to correct one’s own typos and gaffes is so gauche, but I am borderline-OCD (self diagnosed, of course), so I can’t overcome the compulsion to do so.

    Basically, what I’m saying is, “Yay, America.”

  16. Sara

    Very nice post! I too agree that McCain’s concession speech was memorable. I cried a full set of tears when Obama won, and a half-set when McCain conceded.

  17. Jennifer

    I really like your blog and I wish that I could support this sentiment, but I really do not feel it. I am glad McCain lost and do not understand what motivated people to vote for him. I especially do not understand those who supported Hillary Clinton and switched to McCain. I think he ran an increasingly disgusting campaign and I am so relieved that the American people redeemed themselves by rejecting him.

  18. Meg

    “For too long, our politicians have been focused on winning at any cost, even at the expense of the very ideals that inspired them to lead.”

    This is exactly how I feel about McCain. I used to think that he was an honorable man who I respectfully disagreed with on a few issues. When he won the nomination, I was glad, because I thought “well, at least this will be dignified campaign.” I was so wrong, and I’ve lost every ounce of respect I had for him. Maybe because you live in California you haven’t seen so many of the attack ads that have been playing in swing states (not to mention the robocalls), but every move of his has been low and dirty. Even choosing Sarah Palin was a gimmicky move to try to win the election, rather than a thoughtful choice about what would be best for the country.

    No pandering concession speech can make up for all of that in my mind.

  19. Erin Prais-Hintz

    Thank you for the concise, positive post. I have been awed by what we have done for our nation. But I have been equally awed at the sour grapes that I have seen flung far and wide from the internet and blogosphere to in my face in my own place of work. I think that if nothing else we do need to embrace that we are team players and not enemies. My own family is highly republican-ized, which makes me the black sheep, but I have never spoken ill of their choices for political office. I wish that it would be that way with everyone. I am not offended by those who vote different than I do, I am uplifted that we each have a choice. So I encourage people to exercise that choice and vote, but I will never impose my viewpoint on you. I think that being a sore loser never helped anyone out, but I am mostly saddened by the snide, degrading and downright scary thoughts that are seeping out from those in our country who profess to be so patriotic and quintessentially American. We need to embrace our differences, united as one nation and show the world that we deserve to be respected. Thank you for your insightful post.

  20. Molly

    Wow, no dice there. Are you cool with the proponents of Prop 8 too? I mean, win or lose, we are all part of the same good, but not great, country, right? Poor, benighted McCain: all he wanted to do was serve as a puppet for the far right. What a champ, taking it on the chin like that when he could be busy formulating new war strategies or working on plans to deny reproductive rights once he got in office.

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