I have no hard figures to back this up, exactly, but I’m pretty sure schadenfreude has become the new national pastime.

Taking pleasure in another’s misfortune is — if not our default emotion — pretty darn close to the mood in America right now.

I know I got a huge dose of it when I heard Christine O’Donnell had lost her race in Delaware, early Tuesday night.

Then, I experienced another sweet round of it a few hours later when Harry Reid was declared the winner and Sharron Angle the loser. Aww, I thought, smiling widely, wonder what Sharron’s doing right now?

Meanwhile, in living rooms and country clubs around the nation, Republicans and FOX News analysts were swooning with schadenfreude. By God, we put the hurt on Obama, they were crooning. We’re the hammer, he’s the nail.

And the defeat of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House? Wow, that news raised the schad-o-meter past the red line.

It’s tough to deny. Progressives felt this uncharitable version of satisfaction two years ago when we saw the Roves and Limbaughs of the world licking their wounds. I, who am not really a bad person (only a baddish person) kind of loved the moment when I thought we’d seen the last of the GOP for a while.

Little did we know they would morph into something even more shrill and maverick-y. 
I mean, in 2008, who possibly imagined that they would erupt like a forehead growth on the head of Sarah Palin and multiply?

But that’s the thing about schadenfreude: it is enjoyable, but it’s short lived. The cycle is about 730 days.

The happier we are at someone else’s downfall, the happier they will be when it’s our turn.

So, to the people standing on the sidelines of my unhappiness wearing smiles, right now, I say: Remember this moment two years from now.

Gita M. Smith

Gita M. Smith

Gita M. Smith is a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer who covered Alabama -- yes, the whole state -- for the paper's national desk where she fell under  the dangerous influence of Keith Graham and Ron Taylor.  She writes flash fiction at 6S, Thinking 10 and fictionaut.