Morality in Red White and Blue

It was November 3rd, 2004. My sister called. And she was pissed.

“I am NOT immoral!” She was emphatic.

“I have morals! I have values! I am not a bad person because I didn’t vote for Double-Yoo. What makes THEM think that I am BAD?” She was quite exercised.

She wasn’t surprised that her Red State went for Bush–her rustbelt politics were strong but without any foothold in America’s grain basket. But she was surprised with the numbing media-mantra about morals and values voters making the difference in 2004.

“Who gave THEM the market on morality?” she cried. She did not feel good about being a Democrat.

Frank Rich wrote in his NYTimes column on Sunday

After so many years of fear and loathing, we had almost forgotten what it’s like to feel good about our country. On Thursday night [after the Iowa caucuses], that long-dormant emotion came rushing back, like an old dream that pops out of the deepest recesses of memory, suddenly as clear as light.

What excites so many folks about Obama? He lets my sister feel good–dare I say proud?–to be an American. She can feel hope and a sense of possibility. She can stand up and say, “I am NOT a bad guy. I can love my country, too! And I do.”

No matter the eventual nominees, at least for now, many Democrats, Republicans and independents can remove the mantle of irony and cynicism and embrace the best in us all.

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