“As an American historian, what do you think about the 2012 presidential election?”
I am asked this question often and I am never sure how to answer it. Ask me in another ten or twenty years and maybe I might have an answer. Or maybe ask another historian one-hundred years from now. Sure, historians can place the re-election of Obama in a historical context and compare this election to others that have occurred in the past, but historians, in order to do their work effectively, need to have some perspective.
With that in mind, I am not going to use my post this week to offer some historical or religious “insights” into Barack Obama’s victory last night. Instead, I am going publish a list of why I am glad that this election is over:
- No more political phone calls on my answering machine. As a resident of Pennsylvania, I received seven robo-calls yesterday morning alone. One of them even quoted Edmund Burke. I was quite impressed with this until I realized that the quote was taken out of context.
- The “Mormon Moment” is over. Hopefully this election has made Mormonism part of the religious mainstream in America. Whatever the case, Mormonism did not play a major role in this election, although it has allowed several scholars, writers, bloggers, and pundits to build careers and land book contracts.
- My social media sites–Facebook, Twitter, and my blog--might return to some level of civility. Social media during presidential elections brings the worst out in people.
- I will not have to hear the phrase “and I approved this message” for at least another two years.
- I no longer have to explain that there is not a clear “Christian” candidate running for president.
- I don’t have to hear the phrase “battleground state” for another four years
I am sure there are others, but that is a start. Congratulations to Barack Obama and Joe Biden.