Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes We Did!

On November 4, 2008, millions of Americans exercised one of their most sacred rights, and we changed the world. I know, my title is not original. I assume at this point there are hundreds--perhaps thousands--of articles and blog posts that share the same sentiment. I actually came up with a few snarky alternatives the other day, but when the time came to write this, none of them felt right. That kind of post is for another night.

After enduring eight years of devastation wrought by a government lead by conservative extremists, America has just elected its first African American, a man who appears to be a true uniter, something this country was promised so long ago and now desperately needs. I'm not sure what has transpired has completely sunk in for me yet. When I watched John King struggle to come up with a hypothetical situation in which John McCain could win, intellectually I knew the race was over. But when the final call came, all I could do was stare in shock at Barack Obama's picture on the screen.

It wasn't until Roland Martin got emotional while talking about his nieces and nephews, that the enormity of what had occurred even began to hit me. And the crowds, the enthusiasm, was amazing. I happily voted for John Kerry in 2004 and was devastated when he lost. But looking back, I now realize that vote was cast more in opposition to an administration I hated, rather than for someone I thought could transform the country. This election was different. No, I did not favor John McCain. But I cast my vote for Barack Obama.

As for the Senator from Arizona, his concession was both sincere and gracious. It's perhaps a sad irony, but it was by far his best speech of the campaign. I can't help but think that if he had shown that much integrity over the past several months, that he did during that speech, he just might have won. John McCain said everything I could have wished for. He went out on a high note and no one can take that away from him.

To say Barack Obama's speech was amazing, would be an understatement. I loved how he used the eyes of a 106-year-old voter to take us through the trials and tribulations of this country's history. The rest of his speech was inspiring as always. As I listened, I couldn't help thinking to myself in awe, "That's my president. That's our president." Come January will be the first time in my adult life that I will be able to look at a leader without feeling a deep cynicism and disdain.

That's not to say there won't be skepticism. I am a realist. Barack Obama is a politician and I will never forget that fact. I have been known to note that he will not save us. Yet as I watched him and Vice President elect Joe Biden waving to the crowd while inspiring music blared, it was hard not to liken the unfolding situation to that of a triumphant final scene in an award-winning movie. But it wasn't an ending at all, was it? We've only just begun.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Duffy said...

Yes to everything you just said. I actually teared up, and I am a cynic's cynic after the last eight years. And particularly your point about voting for Obama instead of against the other guy; this is the first time I can remember doing that for any politician in any election on any level since my very first presidential election for Clinton. I must add though that all the anti-gay amendments make me a sad panda, but the supreme court appointments I sense in the next four (eight?) years may yet help to undo that new socially acceptable form of bigotry. As for Obama? Yeah, he's a politician. And yeah, he'll surely act like one from time to time. And no, he won't magically be able to make his campaign promises come true. But as kitschy as it sounds, I really do have hope for our future now, and for the world's, and I believe he'll help this country make solid inroads toward fixing so many of the problems BushCo created, even if he does operate only slightly left of center.

3:13 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

I'm here in Missouri. I watched McCain conceed and the magnificent speech of Obama with my parents. I truly couldn't believe it was all over shortly after 10pm. You and duffy put into words a lot of my feelings that I find difficult to put into writing. My mother felt reassured after Obama's speech. His message never wavered since day one. Anne D.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Pati Mc said...

Yes, we DID! Wooo hooo!

Eliza, I saw this and immediately thought of you so I had to send it along. It made me hysterical with laughter:

• "Wolf Blitzer, Mr. Charisma, is clearly a little too impressed with the sound of his own voice. Worse, he has to be one of the most tone-deaf TV personalities ever to stand for hours on end before a TV camera. The contrast between Blitzer and Anderson Cooper is sobering. Placing Blitzer in the same studio with Cooper for eight hours-plus is asking for trouble. Next time — assuming there is a next time — please, let's have more AC and less of the mannequin with the beard". (this is from a website called Canada.com - brilliant!)

2:50 PM  

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