We Did It

6 November, 2008 at 12:22 am (2008 Election, Barack Obama, Historical Figure, Politics)

The President-Elect

The President-Elect

Wow.

Two years ago, I started supporting Barack Obama for President. I thought it was a pipe dream; I thought this country, assuming it could get over the racial issue and vote for someone of mixed ethnicity, would never be able to vote for a man with the middle name Hussein.

I have never been so happy to be proven wrong.

I’ve been trying to write this blog all day, but it’s been difficult – shocking though this may seem, I’m having trouble finding the words. But I’ve got them:

Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States.

Wow.

Some have called this “the most important election of our lives”. Believe it or not, I disagree. I think that the 2004 election was the most important (thus far, anyway) – and I think we got it wrong. This election was a chance to rectify that. And boy, did we ever. It isn’t that we won, it’s that we won in a landslide. That there was no need for a recount, or for a supreme court decision. As of right now (NC is still not official), it’s 349-173.

Obama got 63,933,373 of the popular vote; McCain, 56,422,226

In 2004, after Bush was reelected, we Dems were shocked. I remember a sense of utter hopelessness. And it wasn’t that Kerry was so great; it was that Bush had caused so much harm, and the thought of what could happen in the next four years was frightening. We’ll never know what would have happened if Kerry had won; we do know that a Bush victory has meant many thousands more are dead in Iraq; that we’re in the very beginning of the mother of all financial crises; that our country has been looked at with contempt by so many other residents of the world. Would some of this have happened without Bush? Maybe. But I cannot see how Bush has made this country a better place in the last four years; I can’t think of one redemptive part of his presidency. And yes, that $600 check was nice – but I would gladly have given it up to go without another round of W.

But I digress.

This election was so much different than 2004. It wasn’t a matter of hating the Republican candidate; it was a matter of truly, passionately feeling that the Democrat was the exact right person for the job. There are many reasons that I was an early supporter of Barack Obama, but I think the biggest one for me was that he is an extremely intelligent man who seemed to want the job for the right reason: that he actually wanted to change America, to make it a better place. Yes, I know, he is a politician. But he’s also done a lot for social justice, for the neediest of society, before he had any political ambitions to speak of. Before Harvard Law, he worked in the South Side of Chicago as a community organizer. Governor Palin mocked this at the RNC, but that was one of the things that spoke most to me about his character.

And let’s talk about the fact that this country is finally realizing that liberal is not a dirty word; that progressive can be a good thing. Four years ago, gay marriage was a divisive issue, used by Republicans to scare conservatives into a vote for the Right. It’s hard to remember today, given the blows to civil rights in California, Arkansas, Arizona, and Florida, but we have come so far since then. There are several examples, but case-in-point would be Obama’s speech last night. He mentioned gay people in the first minute-and-a-half of his acceptance speech. Gay people were mentioned in a normal, positive way by a politician. Pretty incredible.

I know that everything won’t change overnight; Obama is walking into a Presidency with a situation that is beyond difficult. And yet. I am so hopeful right now. Hopeful that things really will begin changing for the better. Hopeful that this country is filled with people that want what is best for themselves and their neighbors, that will no longer be led by fear and hatred. Mostly, I am glad I got to be a part of it. Never have I had such confidence in the strength of my convictions; knowing that a majority of this country agrees is powerful. I have enjoyed living in this blue city, in this blue state. But the thought that I now live in a blue country, at least for the next few years – amazing.

The high of this will wear off eventually, I am sure. But the moment last night when Obama was elected – I’ll never forget that. I am so proud that I was a small part of this, and I am going to relish how this feels.

I’m posting Barack’s acceptance speech below. I don’t know that anyone will watch it – if you haven’t, you ought to. It is really fantastic; Obama really is an incredible orator. I know I’ll watch it again in the future, and hope whenever I do I can be reminded of how I feel right now, in this time.

Yes we can – and yes we did. I can honestly say, I have never been so proud to be an American.

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1 Comment

  1. Rosella said,

    I know how you feel. I was overwhelmed and surprised that I was caught off guard. I was born a Presbyterian and Republican and I will die a Presbyterian and Democrat. Surely one of those things will qualify me for heaven!
    I feel it is one of those watershed moments in our history. Sort of like JFK. I am so glad you participated in the process and hope you continue to be part of the system. It will take people your age to keep us going down the right path. We have to remember the poor and the mistreated before we remember ourselves. You keep your values before you at all times, because the days ahead will be tough and we will all have to sacrifice for the greater good. But it will be ok in the end. FDR, JFK, BHO…..though BHO doesn’t ring as nicely as the other two, it doesn’t mean he will not be as inspirational. And we need that. Sorry for rambling on..I am excited and mostly excited for you.

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