Tuesday, November 4, 2008



(Nov. 4, USA) We elected a new President today and in the process may have exorcised demons – some who have plagued our history for centuries – others significantly younger but no less destructive and divisive. Perhaps the Electoral College drubbing of Republican John McCain and the modest but meaningful Democratic gains in Congress, do signify a collective maturity beyond the obvious. Beyond the majority casting their votes for “The First Black President”, the demographic, regional and socioeconomic composition of that majority apparently said “Barak Obama is our choice for President and, he happens to be a Black Man.” There is no denying race played a role during the long campaign but it did not define it; race was overshadowed by the profound problems facing us at home and abroad.

Circumstances, the dire state of affairs brought about by eight years of horrid Republican rule, including two ongoing wars, the host of economic ills crushing many of us and our diminished standing in the world, all helped set the stage for this Democratic victory, a victory Barak Obama encouraged us all to believe was possible. This 46 year old freshman Senator was absolutely in the right place at the right time and George W. Bush was the stage director. The disgust with the Bush administration and the GOP lead Congressional gridlock was sufficient impetus for the message of change, real change, to resonate above the muck, mire, and atrocious tactics of what we have accepted for far too long: “politics as usual”.

Obama defeated the entrenched partisan politics within his own Party before his victory coast to coast tonight. If the pendulum has swung, as many postulate, of its own cyclical accord, they are blind to or petulantly denying the facts. We the people of every political stripe gradually awoke over the past eight years to find ourselves in a country barely recognizable. we bore silent witness as brick by brick Bush / Cheney methodically disassembled that which was over 228 years in the making. At every opportunity they seized the moment to advance their own distorted world view in blatant disregard, actually with utter disdain, of the majority. The awaken was slow initially but, as more and more of our Constitution was shredded, as more and more of our national treasure in lives and money was wasted in a war of choice while the real war was largely abandoned, the awakening spread. One epic failure after another, one arrogant lie on top of the last, as truths were revealed, those still asleep were decreasing in number.

Into the growing discontent, unease, economic hardships and realization that Bush and Company were not merely wrong, that they were criminally inept, arrogantly dismissive of facts, public sentiment and objective reasoning, Barak Obama stepped up. Chided by members of his own Party for, what they saw as his political precociousness, he was given little chance against the roaring, feared political juggernaut of “The Clinton Machine.” He beat them. He prevailed over their hubristic sense of entitlement to the Office of the President, as much as the voters were increasingly beginning to hunger for real change. Our citizenry was waking up to the fact that an able leader was desperately needed to begin the arduous tasks of setting right all that had gone so dreadfully wrong under George W. Bush. As time went by, it became ever more irrelevant what the skin color was of the agent of change we knew was needed.

This election was more about our hunger for change and direction than it was about ideology. Certainly it was a resounding repudiation of Boy George and his cast of messianic zealots, but also validation that what worked in the past was no longer acceptable. Times were too tough, the challenges too great to simply retreat to our partisan islands and approach the choosing of our next President as a sporting event, an exercise in who throws mud more accurately, which side can shout, intimidate, bully and appeal to the basest of instincts in a dirty, nasty slog to achieve the highest office in our land. Perhaps finally, we began to think, all of that could come to an end; we would not be fooled again.

The best man for these times was victorious tonight. The fact that he is a black man is historically profound in so many ways however, that is not the totality of the message sent by over 52% of those who voted. The politics and politicians, the policies and ideologies that we had become so familiar with, so jaded by, had gotten us collectively into this mess. We could no longer afford red state - blue state cynicism, middle class apathy; the rabid scorn of “the other side”. We were all hurting one way or another, some more than others, and finally realized the collective “we” had been forgotten, neglected and ignored by those in power. Pro life hard core Republicans were paying as much for health care, groceries, gasoline and college tuition as left wing - tree hugging - pro choice Democrats. The sleeping giant, the vast segment of us self identified as independent, middle of the roaders, were at last engaged and ready to stop leaning left or right; stand up straight, ready to vote for right over wrong, for forging forward rather than stumbling backwards.. The voice all were awakening to was that of Barak Obama.

Tonight's victory for Obama does not mark “then” from “now”. It does not automatically connote racial healing, national absolution for the sins of the past nor does it represent the emergence of a “new coalition”. This historic victory may be tinged by some wisp of those elements but its greatest weight is in the fact that we the people made a decision that we were going to be heard, we would matter again, that things had gone far enough, that the last eight years were to be forever defined by our government’s failures, failures of such scope and scale we can not, from the vantage point of the present, appreciate the full ramifications of those failures.

At least now we will have the chance to see what is possible, what can be accomplished once the shit is power washed off the machinery of our federal government and we have an administration committed more towards the greater good, the high road, the restoration of what America has stood for since its founding. We have been so poorly served that our expectations tomorrow may not be as lofty as our hopes tonight. At least we will get some idea if our choice was wise or foolish, thoughtful or reactive, good or bad in 76 days.


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