Okay, in honor of his historic inauguration for a second term, I hereby declare a temporary honeymoon period with President Obama. While I have the same concerns today that I’ve expressed here before, I think his speech was worth hearing, and his embrace of Stonewall as part of the long history in this country of people fighting for rights was braver than I’d expected. And it is a historic moment. I’m old enough to remember ‘white’ and ‘colored’ drinking fountains in Florida when we vacationed there back in the day. For Obama to have remained standing in a campaign as ugly (and expensive) as anything I remember in my lifetime (okay, I didn’t follow Goldwater, but I was in Kindergarten) means that there’s music in his narrative that America is buying into. Whatever you believe about that narrative, it is not as destructive or self-hating as the narrative being built by the people who tried to make him a one-termer.
In Wilhelm Reich’s book The Mass Psychology of Fascism, one of the themes explored is that people elect authoritarian governments because of a desire to be punished. I am by no means suggesting that the Republican agenda was fascist, but it was certainly ‘punishment oriented’ with its implied cutoffs of money and medical care for the elderly and the destitute. And Reich would have a field day with the campaign against women waged by the other side (including the disparagement of a woman’s right to sexual pleasure without the concern of pregnancy). One of Reich’s other concerns was the suppression of sexuality, and the Nazis (and the German Communist Party) were infuriated with Reich’s research into the female orgasm. Maybe the American people are tired of electing people who have nothing but contempt for them. Just saying.
I’m hoping that the days of protest can recede a bit while we sort out a new political landscape. At least a couple weeks.