11/09/2012 06:25 pm ET Updated Jan 09, 2013

A Big Win, But Neither Warm nor Fuzzy

This is not gloating. It's me talking about my feelings, which is probably even worse. I'd actually resolved not to take a public position in this election, but then that darned "47 percent" tape emerged. The things I've written since then, here on The Huffington Post and over at, were not just empty rhetoric. I did take very personally the contempt Romney showed for my friends and family in his "47 percent" remark, for which he never apologized. He really did call my mom a freeloader, and I really do find that unacceptable. I also took personally his refusal to release his tax returns, his lurches to the left and right, his lies and his obfuscation, which he conducted so brazenly that he was practically daring us not to notice. It irked me that many people I know obliged him in not noticing, but that only made me more determined to prove him wrong. And, yes, I took very personally the looming threat to my emerging equality and that of my friends.

I wasn't kidding about any of that. For me, this election wasn't about "we're all in this together" vs. "you're on your own," though I wish it had been. It was about whether or not we enable contempt for the electorate as a winning political strategy. A Romney win would have set a lot of awful precedents: hidden tax returns, unlimited super PAC money, bald-faced lies, voter suppression. America would have communicated to politicians that these were winning methods in this country, that facts were no longer important and that we would accept their plain contempt if they just made us hate the other guy enough.

So, despite my intellectual appreciation of all the great things that this win means, my heart simply doesn't feel like celebrating. For me, this isn't like last election's afterglow from having been part of something good. This time, it's more like the feeling of having engaged in a necessary act of self-defense -- less like buying Girl Scout cookies and more like helping to eject a troublemaker from the bus. It doesn't feel warm or fuzzy, but at least it feels finished.

And good riddance.