So for a lot of us, there’s more at stake in Tuesday’s elections than simply whether the Democrats will take control of the House or the Senate. It’s a question of national identity, of finding out who we are — and if we’re a “we” at all. For six years, we’ve been waiting for the America we thought we knew to come back. And now, as we wait for the spinning windows in the great democratic slot machine to stop, we’re torn between hope that it’ll display the country we thought we knew, and fear that it’ll show something else.
We thought America was conservative enough not to trash its most cherished traditions just because of one terrorist attack. We thought America was liberal enough to try to understand why others might hate us, not just to lash out self-righteously. We thought America was wise enough not to start an unprovoked, immoral and highly risky war. We thought America had enough self-respect not to let itself be ordered around by a shameless, lying bully.
We were proved wrong. But we haven’t given up. Now our hopes are more modest. Now we’re simply hoping that those of our fellow citizens who let us down so badly two years ago throw the bums out. That good old American common sense will prevail. In short, that we haven’t completely lost it.