Post-election deep breathing

I’ve kept the political yammering on my blog to a minimum, but now that the voting is over, this is the only thing I want to say, and then I’ll get back to guitars and gaming.

Like a lot of people, this was the first election I really paid attention to. Fear had something to do with it, but I think it was also the first one that made me feel inspired. Watching those debates, I wasn’t looking to throw darts at the other guy; I was listening. Is the question being actually answered? Do I like the logic behind these answers? Do I want this person to represent me for four very long years? Obama seemed rational and calm; despite the “straight talk” catchphrase from McCain’s campaign, I thought Obama really was talking straight about the challenges problems to be solved. He looks like he knows what he’s up against. He really seemed prepared to do this incredibly difficult job. So he got my vote.

I live in California, so it should be no surprise that I think America’s gone off the rails a bit. I don’t agree with the Iraq war and never did. There have been several times in the last eight years that I just said to myself, “What?” Many times, our country’s moves and actions adn ways of handling things simply didn’t make sense. I wasn’t angry so much as scared and baffled. So I feel like this is more than just a regime change; it’s a real chance.

And not a chance for other people to do something. Last night’s speech by Obama addressed the one thing that I think has been sorely lacking: responsibility. For all the talk of “hard-working Americans,” I think a lot of us are selfish and lazy, looking for the easy way out or to cover our own asses, and we don’t really think of anybody else when we do stuff. But if we all really were hard-working Americans — if we accepted the responsibility for our own decisions and actions, and if we considered the potential ramifications of our actions before we took them — we’d be better off. And that’s decisions of any kind, from big sweeping social changes to daily interactions with other people. I think the world would be a better place if everybody who was in love could get married. I also think the neighborhood would be a better place if the guy down the street turned down his stereo a little bit so I could hear my own music. If we do Thing A, what is Result B likely to be? I would love for the default answer to no longer be “I don’t care, I’m doing Thing A because I want to.”

So it’s a mix I’m looking for in the future. More personal responsibility, mixed with more consideration — an awareness of self with an awareness of others. Solve our own problems as individuals, ask for help from those around you when necessary, but don’t just assume someone else will do it for you, and just be nice to other people as a default. Many of you reading this blog can do this. Hopefully most if not all of you already are.

So that’s my hope for change, and I am hoping the new guy can inspire that in other people, too.