Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Election of Hope

Where to begin? I've struggled to write this quite a bit.

The scope and depth of this election extends so much that it would be foolish for me to think that I can cover it in a few paragraphs. I'm just one kid from Jersey. Late into the night of November 4th, 2008, as a group of friends and I were flipping through election coverage, we saw Jon Stewart announce that Barack Obama had won the presidency of the United States of America. We quickly changed to CNN to confirm and then to FOX News to remove all doubt...and then joy. High fives were given all around, bottles were popped, phone calls and texts were made.

For us and for most of liberal America this was vindication. In 2004 we saw how President Bush used fear to win an election. We've seen how this Republican administration has scared Americans into thinking that war can be rejustified if the original motive doesn't fit, that torture is acceptable under the "right" conditions, that everyone who disagrees with America hates America, that this as good as the USA can and will ever be. Perhaps worst of all, they divided the country by allowing the demonetization of liberalism to be propagated. In doing so, a rift the size of the Grand Canyon was made between conservatives and liberals. This election was the hope of the end of this. The hope that America can discuss issues such as health care, rights for all, abortion, etc... without questioning the patriotism or faith of the other side.

I don't want liberals to view this as their opportunity to punish conservatives. Although it is highly unpopular, the Bush administration has done many good things that we can all be proud of. I also believe wholeheartedly that John McCain would have made a fine president.

However, I do believe America made the best choice. Barack Obama. A half black, half white, All-American man who was elected not because of the color of his skin, but for the merit of his character and his ideas. We've come a long, long way baby. The first time I heard Barack Obama was during his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. In that speech he talked about hope. "Hope -- Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!" At the time I thought that someday he'd have a bright future in the Democratic party, but I had no idea how bright a future it would be and how quickly it would come. When he announced his candidacy in 2007 most people didn't give him an iota of a chance to win his party's nomination let alone the presidential elections. Unfazed, he continued to inspire people with an ability to speak unmatched by any of his counterparts. He convinced people with a set of ideas and plans that spoke directly to a hurting country.

An election based on the audacity of hope that started on a cold day in Chicago fittingly ended on a cold night in Chicago with the belief that together YES WE CAN change for the better.

Barack Obama is not the Messiah, however. Though I'm excited for the time being, once he's in office, I want him to be held accountable. I want him to be criticized when he errs. I expect him to do right for this nation. After all, this election was never about him.


Duchess said...

Very well written. Although I don't agree that McCain would have been a fine president at all.

Anonymous said...

Very nice. I felt the same way in 2004, and yeah, with the exact same surprise that things came around so quickly.

Personally, I think McCain and Obama are great people and would try to do well, but I would be concerned about their being co-opted by for extreme components of their respective parties no matter who won.

Now that Obama has won, he needs to be careful to keep his words from turning out to be empty.

FWIW, I think it's interesting that Obama is theoretically plausable as a future world leader/anti-christ type of figure.

You did lose me with the last line though. For many people, this election was about Obama.

Jorge J said...

i wrote that last line because some people make this election about but it is ultimately about the country. we can't forget that

Jorge J said...

sorry, about him*