In the TV presentation of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," the Grinch, after stealing the town's presents, looks on as the townspeople celebrate the holiday without presents. They see the joy and excitement of being together in a community.
As I look at the pro-Obama celebrants, I cannot help but feeling that my fears about this new order, this new coalition are just so many gifts I have stolen from the Obama supporters and that these supporters are part of a community of interest and affection from which for some reason I am divorcing myself in the name of "realism" (or cynicism).
Mr. Obama's victory is quite exciting, quite surreal. I live in Chicago and the knowledge that the president elect lives within 10 miles or so of me is quite exciting. I had a chance to go to the rally, but had too much work to catch up on, so I didn't go. Watching the excitement on TV, however, was quite a thrill.
I have, in the last few posts, criticized some of the more exuberant Obama supporters. For some reason, even though I cannot escape the feeling of general excitement, I feel as if on the outside of things. I feel a dread that we might be approaching just a new orthodoxy, a new coalition of righteous indignation and righteous certitude that is similar in tone and style to the "compassionate conservative" hypocrisy we've had to endure the last 8 years or so.
Note, my fears are about "tone" and "style," not about substance. I believe--and I believe I am quite reasonable in believing, or at least hoping--that the substance of Mr. Obama's administration and the Democratic congress's enactments will be an improvement over the last 8 years, or even the last 16 years.
But, as is perhaps inevitable, any criticism of Mr. Obama's choices are likely to be labeled "fascist" or reactionary, no matter how well reasoned. The timbre of the criticism against Governor Palin is another side of that same coin.
Maybe it's my old age, but I have deep reservations about Mr. Obama's ability even though I am glad that he won. Something is not quite right. Events may bear me out.
I wonder whether my criticisms, while valid in their own way, are just so many paper-wrapped presents I have stolen. And now I look on while the sincere and warm-hearted supporters of Obama celebrate a victory.
UPDATE 9-7-09: I have modified the text of this post somewhat to omit some extraneous wording and "tighten" up the language.