Hope Hurts

On November 5th Americans will discover that the world did not hate them. That they just hated Bush.

(Knocking wood.) And (knocking entire old-growth forests) maybe we'll discover that we don't have to hate ourselves. May the war between the Red and the Blue begin to end.

It will not be a love-in. In particular, the culture warriors on the left will discover that they didn't elect a tribal leader. They elected a person who will continue to embrace his liberal values while repudiating the touchstone liberal issues not as issues but as touchstones, as symbols of ideological purity. That's what Obama has done throughout this campaign: Drill, baby, drill, if you can find places where drilling truly wouldn't hurt the environment, while committing to genuine energy reform. Merit pay for teachers, baby, so long as all teachers are paid respectful wages. The hope Obama offers is that we can get past the knee-jerk positions that are used to test the loyalty of the faithful...that is, that are used to rip our country into bleeding pieces.

It's not compromising, in which each side grudgingly gives up a little. It's certainly not triangulating, by which cowards flee to the position of least risk. It's called listening -- finding what's best in those with whom you disagree. It is the only way we heal. It's what Obama has been about throughout his life.

So, get ready for some hope. It's going to sting at first.