Hippies Wander Into the Lions' Den, Maul Lions


Let us review:
  • The United States of America -- a country where only eight years ago, opposition to the right of gay and lesbian couples to form and protect their families, under the color of law, was a winning national election strategy -- for the first time by popular vote defeated an effort to discriminate against such families in one state, and endorsed the right to marry in three others.
  • The United States of America, where legal marital rape is in living memory, turned away two men who would minimize that rape and likely turned control of the entire Senate over that issue.
  • The United States of America, where under the color of law and under the force of terrorism whole swaths of black people were deprived of the right to vote in recent memory, saw black voting not only match levels achieved in 2008 but exceed them.
  • The United States of America, a country of immigrants, saw the Latino share of the vote increase, not decrease as so many predicted.
  • The United States of America, whose prison system is a mockery of justice, endorsed a mature and sane drug policy in three states.
  • The United States of America, where the disenfranchisement of women is in recent memory, sent a historic number of women to its upper chambers. 
  • The United States of America, whose media has long been held hostage by the vendors of hair-tonic and lead alchemy, saw those self-same vendors shamed, embarrassed, and reduced to self-mockery before the world.
  • The United States of America, a country with the vending of black people barely out of living memory, with the systemic white supremacy very much in its living memory, re-elected a black president. 
That president is the killer of Osama bin Laden. That president, a black man, a card-carrying member of this country's pariah class, is now seen by Americans as its most effective guardian. That president is the pivotal figure in what must be one of the most progressive nights in American history, and arguably the most progressive night in American history in some 40 years.

I am not sure what more to make of this. I would not say that the battle is over, but that some monster of American history, some wraith, some awful Power went into battle last night, and is presently limping away mortally wounded. The beast-handlers know this. I think it's broadcast in Bill O'Reilly's open racism, in Karl Rove's flight into lunacy. It is slowly dawning on them: This isn't 1968. The hippies are punching back.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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