WASHINGTON — Now that Barack Obama has won the presidency after a long and divisive campaign, it is time to start binding the country's wounds. Liberals like me have a duty to "reach out" to the other side, particularly to rural conservative white men, whose opposition to Obama was most intense and who seemed to have the most misgivings about the cultural and political direction of an Obama presidency.
Gentlemen, stop worrying. Things will be fine. I'd like to respectfully and sensitively address your concerns, one at a time.
Gay marriage. President-elect Obama may be socially liberal, but he remains politically opposed to allowing homosexuals to enjoy the cherished American institution of marriage. So, relax. To better promote understanding between the gay and straight communities, however, you will be required by law to adopt an effeminate walk.
Intellectual arrogance. During the campaign, much was made of Barack Obama's alleged disrespect for regular Americans like Joe the Plumber. Nothing could be farther from the truth. An Obama administration will disavow this sort of cultural chauvinism. Plain, ordinary, hardworking Americans will be allowed to keep their jobs once they have passed basic competency exams in wine discrimination, interpretive literature and general cultural sophistication. To ensure fairness, these tests will be administered by panels of highly qualified, Ivy League professors in bow ties.
Coddling terrorists. The president-elect's admitted association with a former leader of the radical Weather Underground, as well as the unfounded myth that he is a Muslim, has led to the unfortunate perception among many of you that he will be soft on Middle Eastern evildoers who want to destroy America. He will not. In the interests of global harmony, however, he will support the seating of al-Qaida as a voting member of the U.N. Security Council, though our delegate will be required to scowl at their delegate at all times.
Class warfare. Even though Obama drew his most enthusiastic support from the nation's cities and close-in suburbs, and is deeply indebted to these segments of the population, his administration will permit no de facto caste system in America. Resources will be distributed equitably. There will be no special favors for the Obama demographic, except for the institution of droit du seigneur, a French custom from feudal times. This will mean that urban dwellers, if properly certified and credentialed, can sleep with your virgin daughters.
Same-sex bathrooms. Yes, this ridiculous canard has persisted in election after election: that in some misguided aversion to "separate but equal," liberals will require the sharing of public restrooms. This will absolutely not occur in an Obama administration — although, to be fair to both sexes, men's bathrooms will be equipped with baby-changing tables, tampon dispensers and sofas. To create room for these, all urinals will be removed.
Lefties on the Supreme Court. Nothing to worry about here. With Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito still alive and well, the court will probably remain reliably conservative for some time, despite the additions of justices Ayers, Franken, Chomsky and Farrakhan.
Socialism. No single issue dominated discourse more during the final weeks of the campaign than the fear that Obama wants to, in his words, "share the wealth." Irrationally, this was interpreted as espousing socialism. That is nonsense, and you should put it out of your mind. Socialism is a very broad term that encompasses various economic systems, including many that incorporate democratic ideals. What Obama was espousing was "communism."
The dangers of one-party rule. In a sense, this issue sums up all of your concerns. Many of you believe that a Democratic presidency strengthened by large majorities in both houses of Congress will usher in something of a "liberal dictatorship," or, to use a term I find even more descriptive, an "American Renaissance." Though I think it is true that some left-of-center policies may be instituted, I assure you they will be limited to issues upon which we all agree, such as universal health care, development of alternative energy sources, environmental conservation and free heroin for everyone.
Gene Weingarten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can chat with him online at noon Tuesdays at www.washingtonpost.com.