Omaha and Nebraska’s 2nd District went for Barack Obama in this election, marking the first time the city has voted for a Democratic candidate for President since 1964 and Lyndon Johnson.
As a resident of Omaha, I’m all-too-often reminded of our red-state reputation. A disturbing number of people here still drive around with Bush/Cheney bumper stickers and speak openly against gays and abortion and stem-cell research as offensive to their faith. And it’s all very nonchalant, as if there aren’t controversies raging about these issues elsewhere. Most of them are nice enough people. They’re just saying what they’ve been taught to think.
I think this signals a fundamental difference between the ultra-faithful and the nonbeliever. The former still lives in an almost child-like state, unable to move beyond or even question the mythology of their youth—be it tales of America’s infallibility or of invisible men who listen to your thoughts. The latter, on the other hand, eventually matures mentally and emotionally and comes to see the world in a new way.
So, does Omaha’s vote for Obama signal an ideological coming of age for the city? Probably not. Obama is a very religious man himself, and you can bet that if he were an atheist or really was a Muslim (as Republicans tried to paint him) he would have been lucky to get 10% of the vote here.
Sad but true.