Twenty-four hours have passed. Time for me to stop the gloat.

Image from forbes.com

Image from huffpost.com

Inspired and fueled by comments today at Democratic Underground.

This morning, the TV news and several political websites showed photos of Romney/Ryan followers at various Election Night rallies, capturing their facial expressions upon learning that Romney had conceded the race to President Obama. Expressions of disappointment, devastation, and dashed hopes.

Tuesday was a great day for our country, culminating in the re-election of a good President who has the potential to be great. Tuesday was a great day because it means the Affordable Care Act will be implemented, and the war in Afghanistan will end in 2014, and because we will have four more years of a leader who keeps a steady hand in a crisis. Tuesday was a great day because Obama’s re-election, and the election of some great Democratic senators, is a mandate for a more equitable tax system, and women’s rights, and progressive legislation on immigration. Tuesday was a great day because Republican attempts to suppress the vote failed. Tuesday was a great day because we re-elected a President who cares about 100% of Americans, not just 53%.

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy being an older white male who isn’t in the Republicans’ demographic. Yet I sympathize. I’ve been in their shoes so many times: crying on election night (or out getting plastered and crying) because some jackass Republican got handed the keys to the kingdom. Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry. I know what it’s like to feel as if the world is over and Satan won.

It made me sad because it shows how many of my fellow citizens have been manipulated and deceived by Republican extremists: Rove, the Koch brothers, and the Bush/Cheney machine. I feel sadness for these victims of Republican delusion. They have followed politicians and pundits who lead them down a path that will never benefit them.

They believed that Romney was their great hope: a man who lied to them, betrayed them, and doesn’t give a crap about them. They believed that Mitt was the agent for change they were looking for. Misled by a candidate who was everything to everybody.

All I could think of when I looked at them was that it could have been me. I’ve been involved with too many losing campaigns to take pleasure in seeing rank-and-file supporters of any candidate be crushed when their candidate loses. Almost all of us over the age of 25 have been those people at some point, and it’s a really crappy place to be in. I’ve been down that road too many times in the last four decades. I know how it feels to have our guy not win, and it was pretty awful. I don’t wish that feeling on anyone, especially not rank-and-file voters and activists who put their heart and soul into a campaign they believed in.

Now I know that had Romney won, and exercised his scary agenda, and it finally sunk in how awful his intentions were, they’d be much, much sadder. But at the end of the day, we are all Americans. These people are our fellow citizens, co-workers, and neighbors.

Time’s up. No more schadenfreude. Time for us to pull together.

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