It was with a sad and heavy heart that I watched the election results come in last night and realized that my pessimism about the electorate was warranted. However, with the popular vote so close, it seems that we are, as Drudge says, a very divided country. I expect that we will stay that way for some time. Given the difficulty that Republicans have in winning elections — how can they win Ohio or Pennsylvania, for example, given the large number of unions in those states? — it is important to think through psychological and economic ways of coping for the next four years or more.
One important way of coping is to realize how many conservatives and libertarians are out there and connect with them. I spent some time out in California last month and was amazed and delighted to see so many people who had a similar take on politics as myself. We ate dinner, went to events and shared stories about our experiences as right-leaning individuals in left-leaning professions. It was refreshing and good for my emotional health.
It is also imperative to make connections with those of a similar political persuasion not just for the social aspect, but for financial and legal ones. As the economy continues to do worse (and it will), we need to lean on each other for support, work, encouragement and even legal help. Given the press and the liberal’s penchant for making those on the right into pariahs, our jobs, reputations, academic freedom and economic well-being are often on the line. Because we tend to be more individualistic, we are often left to fend for ourselves in these arenas. Don’t let that happen.
If someone on the right has a business, support it if it is worthwhile. If they need help defending their reputation, jump in. If an angry professor is isolating and belittling a conservative in the classroom or a public forum, speak up. A group of two is better than one, and more is better. If you find yourself in a situation where you need help, ask for it. If you see another conservative or libertarian in trouble, even if it is just in a blog post, do something. Defend them, fight back, and support your fellow political travelers, because if you won’t, who will?