Saturday, November 11, 2006

Waking Up

One thing I didn't anticipate was how much the aftermath of the Democratic electoral victory would feel like a return to normality--a waking-up from six years of nightmare.

A small example: the many photos in newspapers and on TV of President Bush holding (at least superficially) cordial conversations in the White House with Democratic leaders. I can't stop experiencing two powerful simultaneous reactions to these pictures: first, awareness of how very strange it is to see Bush smiling and shaking hands with someone like Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid (those friends of terrorists); and second, the realization that, not so long ago (yet seemingly very, very long ago), photo-ops like this were absolutely the norm in Washington.

I mean, I know I'm not crazy, and by God I remember when Republican presidents routinely met with, worked with, and even befriended Democrats in Congress--and vice versa. Now, after six years of Bush and Rove, the bare possibility of bipartisanship feels like some sort of miracle.

This must be what the first few moments of fresh air and sunlight and open horizons must seem like to someone who has just been released after months in jail. "Oh, right . . . I remember this! Gee, it feels good!"
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