In the hunger for information on Election Night, it never occurred to me to watch FOXNews. It was only late in the game, when the result was certain, that I allowed myself the luxury of flipping first to Jon Stewart, and then FOX, for some light entertainment.
What a mistake I made, not tuning in earlier to the FOX coverage, which by midnight EST, resembled an Oklahoma football squad, complete with cheerleaders, sitting shiva. The anchor man, someone named “Shep” who does not at first blush sound like a fool, was hissing and fuming about Romney’s ridiculous refusal to come out and concede. Ed Rollins, warhorse for the ages, mumbled about “uniting behind the President” (the first time, perhaps, that sentence has been uttered there since November 2008). A sharp edged blonde lady, in the customary red suit, carried the demeanor of a Dallas real estate agent who had just discovered her husband canoodling with another woman in the back of the Escalade. We need a word in English that means “glum anger”.
As my friend Steve wrote to me, these people were watching their world collapse – the magic realist 1950s world so artfully constructed in the minds of the FOXAmerican public, and apparently, in the brains of those who feed them the propaganda. Nowhere was this process better described than in Andrew Sullivan’s DailyDish blog, last night a luxurious mix of haughteur, glee and tearful relief.
Many good things happened last night. The President was returned with a strong majority of the vote; the Senate will see many new, smart, liberal Democrats where they were never expected to win; Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington each passed referenda recognizing some form of marriage equality for gay Americans, and on and on. All shocking to the true believers of FoxAmerica and their mental fortress
There is much more to be said about the phenomenon of FoxAmerica, but what we can see this morning is this: there was for two centuries in America, an ascendant and dominant class of white, heterosexual men. For a time it literally enslaved blacks, disenfranchised women, marginalized minorities and tormented gays. This patriarchy, largely in the service of the rich, exploited and manipulated the people of America, through a process and philosophy of exclusion.
Members of that same class, and I count FDR their patron saint, opened the doors of power to people who were different. That same class of Americans laudably gave birth to the New Deal, the Marshall Doctrine, the War on Poverty and a strongly liberal sentiment which began to dissolve the walls of the old patriarchy. The 1960s saw a social revolution based on material wealth and psychological liberty, the 1990s saw the emergence of a new normal where inclusion, not exclusion, became the rule, and 2012 saw the congealing of a broad popular sentiment endorsing modest forms of collective action, social equality and inclusion.
This morning, the Includers are ascendant, and the Excluders are in the minority. The challenge for the winners, will be how to remain “inclusive” towards a rabid and wounded pack of hounds. I mean foxes.