Wed, 5 November 2008
By now everybody knows that Barack Hussein Obama has won the 2008 presidential election and will become the 44th President of the United States of America. I am feeling so many different feelings that it's hard to put them into words, but terms like "joy," "peace," "hope," and "complete thrill" come to mind.
I repeatedly got teary-eyed as President-elect Obama addressed a crowd of nearly a million at Grant Park in Chicago, particularly when I heard a President-elect mention the word "gay" in a victory speech for what I am very sure is the first time. I know these words were not just words, but true expressions of a man who understands that when one of us is diminished, we all are diminished.
My sincere admiration also goes out to Senator John McCain who fought a worthy battle, and in the end conceded defeat with grace, going as far as to stop the many "boos" that arose from his crowd of supporters. It is my hope that his words of unity and working together are also not mere words, but a sincere commitment to set aside the partisanship that has poisoned our democracy and stopped our country from moving forward.
As of the time of this writing, the Democratic party has also picked up an additional 12 seats in the House of Representatives and 5 in the Senate. This is further proof that Americans are ready for our country to take a much different direction than it currently has. As we know the final results of the five states that were still in doubt as of this posting (North Carolina, Missouri, Montana, Georgia, and Indiana), we will get a greater idea of what this means for the future of our country.
As I think about what has happened, I have a great sense of pride for my fellow citizens. People everywhere voted for the first time, and it looks like the voter participation rate will exceed the record set in 1960. In states where it was allowed, early voting proved a huge success in increasing the overall turnout, and may have taken some pressure off of precincts on election day. Whatever their political affiliation, people were inspired to participate in this election, and we are already a stronger nation for it.
With this success, however, comes the many responsibilities:
Despite the success of early voting, there were long lines, and there were reports of people who still had to walk away and lose their right to vote.
We are still in the midst of a financial crisis that just recently was officially named a "recession."
We have two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that we are losing, and we must bring a responsible end to these wars.
We need to rebuild the infrastructure of our own country to avoid any more disasters like the one in Minneapolis.
We must develop alternative sources of energy and break our dependence on all combustible energy sources (not just oil).
We must also work to revive the job market in this nation and put Americans back to work.
We must continue to work toward the American ideal that "all [people] are created equal," (Declaration of Independence) and we must work to "secure the blessings of liberty" (Preamble to the Constitution) for all people everywhere.
In short, as I have said before, our participation in democracy can not end on November 4, 2008. Democracy must become a verb, not a noun. If we continue with the same energy that led us to this incredibly unlikely turning point in our history, then we will truly be unlimited in what we can achieve for the next eight years, and beyond.
YES, WE DID, AND YES WE CAN!
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:53am EDT
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