Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Day, A New President (Elect)



I was debating whether or not to post anything about the election.  I could have settled for a "Currently Watching" post on Ivan the Terrible, Purple Rose of Cairo, or Midnight Cowboy.  This morning, it seems even more pointless than usual to blog about the same old stuff.

I've been an avid support of Barack Obama since his campaign launched 20 months ago and have stood behind him firmly through the whole darn process.  Unlike any other political figure in my time, he has both challenged and excited me.  His eloquence is unsurpassed and his ideas echo many of my own.  I hope and pray for his family and for his ability to lead the country in the next two months, and through the next four years.

Obama is a man of many promises, and with a Dem congress (with many centrists), it can be assumed he'll be able to get many of his positions passed.  He has a lot to do, many promises to keep.  He has inspired America to cross party lines, to become inspired by an agent of change.  Whether this change will come or not has yet to be seen, and I'll ultimately hold off my judgment of the man until he's spent a year in the position.

Today I am very proud.  This was my first presidential election I was able to vote in.  Beyond that, I voted absentee in Virginia, which voted Democrat for the first time since 1964.  People will say this was a historic election regardless of what Obama does or doesn't do for many reasons.  Aside from the obvious "racial barrier" thing people keep chanting, I think this shows that partisan politics don't have to play into discourse.  Much as Reagan united people across the spectrum in 1984, Obama was able to key into what people want and what people feel needs to be done, he was able to address their concerns consistently and eloquently.

As unashamedly emotional as I felt watching his acceptance speech, people should turn to McCain as an example.  His speech encapsulated all the disappointment he must be feeling, but his speech was humble and genuine, and I hope the respect he showed Obama is echoed in his constituency.  It's no secret that South Carolina is a very conservative state, and yesterday and this morning I had the misfortune of hearing many foolish, arrogant, and ignorant remarks from Conservatives.  (as a side note, I've heard my fair share from the Dems as well - Obama needs to be tested in the position before we can call him a wonderful president)  I hope that this knee-jerk response will gradually dissipate and people can help embrace whatever direction the country takes.

I became politically aware in the administration of George W. Bush.  I was too young in 2000 to really *grasp* the election and what it meant, and since early 2003 I've been extremely cynical towards the federal government.  This is no time to rant, but my political dissatisfaction finally feels like it can turn around, that I can feel true patriotism towards a president and towards the government.  I would love to say, four years from now, that Obama helped bring us together after the country became so divided and so hostile and so bitter.  If there's any change we need, that's the kind I would like to see.  Regardless of the policies, regardless of the actions, I want to be able to trust Obama and his administration to do what's best for our country and unify us the way I felt unified as I watched people jubilantly celebrate last night.

Additionally, I marveled at one statistic: 66% of the youth vote cast their ballot for Obama.  66%.  For first-time voters, it was 69%.  Stunning.  Whatever that means in the long run, I feel proud to be a part of that demographic, and I'm even more proud of the turn-out.  

The kind of energy that coursed through the evening was unprecedented in my politically cognizant lifetime.  I hope that energy carries past Jan 20 into 2012.  Today I feel particularly proud of who I am, what I believe in, and the world that I am a part of.  I believe in change, and I believe in hope.  Some days it feels hard to see the sun amidst the clouds, but sometimes hope is all we have, and I believe that's what drove so many to vote for a man who continues to speak so inspirationally on the changes he believes we need.

I wish him luck and I will be hoping for the best.  I hope you will be too.

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