Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Obama Wins, Where Are the Graceful Losers?

Yes, I voted for Obama.

Did I vote for the "winner"? Did I vote "my conscience"? Did I vote for "the country"?

Listening to any of the talking heads on TV, you would think I did one or some combination of the above.

Unless you were watching FOX News, in which case they think I'm a deluded entitlement wuss who is terrified of standing on my own two feet and becoming a self-reliant job creator.

But hearing the blogsphere and reading social media (our power was out, so our exposure was limited to local CBS 880 AM news) exposes a very clear divide.

Which leads me to a sports analogy from the 2000 World Series. That year, the final baseball epic untainted by the events of 9/11, my cousin and I decamped to Shea Stadium to watch our New York Mets take on the Yankeees. The Mets had let a game get away from them, and who can forget the "Roger Clemens throws a bat at Mike Piazza" incident?

The Mets managed their lone victory in that series in Game Four and we were there. But they were still looking to stave off elimination in Game Five when we returned to Shea.

We'd had weekday season seats (which no longer exist) for many years. In that time, through upgrades, we had moved to Loge Section 5, Row B, seats 15 and 16 (aisle), right behind home plate. Glorious seats in foul ball territory where you could see all the action at a moderate price. Sadly, when the Mets built CitiField, they more than doubled ticket prices in three years. In the process, they lost us as regular customers. I became an occasional attendee. And my cousin has turned his back on the club entirely.

But I digress. There we sat in our fantastic seats for game five and waited to see if the Mets could hold off the Yanks for another day. If the Yankees were going to win, hopefully they would have to do it in THEIR stadium two days later.

This being New York, fans were wearing gear for both teams. Every time a "Let's Go Mets!" chant started up, Yankee fans would drown it out with a chant of their own. So be it. All in good, clean fun. Until the second inning, when the Yanks went ahead, 1-0.

A woman and her preteen daughter were seated in the section in front of us. They wore Mets hats and jackets and were SURROUNDED by Yankees fans, who went nuts when the Bronx squad took an early lead. By nuts, I mean they stood up, they hooted and stormed around, and gave the finger and cursed loudly at anyone who dared ask them to shut up, so people could watch the game.

They quieted down in the bottom of the inning, when the Mets took a 2-1 lead. At that point, the woman, who had heard enough, stood up for TWO SECONDS and cheered, "LET'S GO METS!" and promptly sat down.

The tense showdown between Andy Pettitte and Al Leiter went until the top of the ninth inning when Luis Sojo gave the Yanks a decisive 4-2 lead. The Yankees fans went nuts again, but it was a different kind of nuts. This was a completely TARGETED response. And their target was this poor woman and indirectly, her preteen daughter. They stood up, got in her face, and directed the entirety of their venom at her.

This was no celebration of the accomplishments of their favorite team. This was an angry mob delighting at being in an opposing team's stadium, buzzed on high-priced beer, and demonstrating their god-given right to applaud a two-RBI single.

It went over the line to the point that people sitting in the next level started pouring beer on them to get them to stop. Security ignored them. The attendants, sensing the end of the season was at hand, had all vanished. Even the most timid people yelled at them to "leave the women alone." And got the finger in return.

Three outs later, it was all over. The woman and her daughter fled. I clearly recall that group of Yankees fans jumping, hugging, and falling all over themselves, in delight that the Yankees had won in "Mets territory."

Now you may ask - what does this have to do with the 2012 election? Here goes.

Republicans are Yankees fans and Democrats are Mets fans.

Yes, both groups cheer and applaud when "their guy" is in the lead. But rarely do you see Mets fans gloat to the degree of Yankees fans.  I have in-laws who could not give a shit about baseball, except when the Yankees were the most winningest team in New York. Long Islanders, every time I asked if they were interested in Mets games, they would guffaw. Until the Mets were headed for the World Series against the Yankees. I had the unenviable task of explaining to them that THOSE tickets were earmarked for people who bought tickets to Mets games during the regular season. The response was, unbelievably, "But you never offer us those tickets."

I love that the Republican response to Obama's second team is to declare it's "not a mandate." Bush stole the 200 election and the Supreme Court gave him the Presidency.  FOX News then declared Bush had a "mandate." Obama wins by larger margins that either of Bush's two elections, but neither of those is a "mandate."

The other Republican response is to be offended at the outpouring of emotion at the Obama victory. It's like Republicans own the license to celebrate. It's a good thing there was no Facebook in 2004 when Bush won his second term – I can't imagine the degree of venom and derogatory pictures about John Kerry that would have been posted by GOP supporters.

Where are those graceful losers on the GOP side? It's their turn to ask for "compromise" and nod their heads that Obama did indeed run a better campaign. Because if Obama had lost, that's what the GOP would be calling for.

This generation of Democrats is being accused of acting like – gasp – Republicans! They are celebrating!!! victory!!! loudly and publicly!!! And that's a good thing. Asshat Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's electoral seat in Massachusetts and the Democrats nearly pissed away the chance to create national healthcare. Elizabeth Warren reclaimed that seat. Anti-abortion zealots Akin and Murdock were soundly defeated. We DO have something to celebrate. And celebrate we will.
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