Wednesday, November 05, 2008
The once and future President Obama
Yesterday Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of our United States of America. He won the electoral and popular vote, which means the criminal farce that was the Bush administration is definitively behind us. Let the era of hope, respectability, and healing begin.
The most notable part of this election, of course, is that my generation came out in droves for a good leader who happened to be black -- not a black man who happened to be a good leader. This is the real dream of Martin Luther King Jr., fully realized. We judged not by the color of a person's skin, but by the content of his character.
And what character it is. Our president-elect has consistently put the mission of restoring this country -- and the credit for its success -- in everyday Americans' hands. He involves all in his goals. He is thoughtful, calm, pragmatic. And though there is no uncertain risk in his untested past, his performance to this point is reassuring.
Obama has been lauded/criticized for being a human Rorschach test -- something different for everyone, and thus nothing at all. But it's this chameleon quality that draws out the real, present, and future America. Just look at the people at his rally. As the camera panned the masses, you saw every hue, age, and gender represented.
This is how America really looks -- not the pallid whitewashed crowd represented at McCain's rallies. And now we have a president who reflects it and understands it -- a president for the modern and actual America.
In this way, Obama is relatable. It helps that he texts his constituents, and signs emails with his first name. I love that he got where he is with hard work, not handouts. And it doesn't bother me he shot so quickly through the ranks; he seems to know he can have the most impact from the highest office.
Of course there will be flaws and missteps. A Democratic majority in Congress and the White House might not offer the diversity of thought and productive bipartisan tension we need in critical times. Obama is inheriting one hot, hurting mess of a nation, and fixing it may be beyond even his abilities -- or at least only one term.
But those are all inevitable worries that I don't particularly feel like ruining today with. For today, I think only of his declaration that change has come.
I think God that a long, rancorous, and divisive campaign is over.
I marvel that exactly nine months after arriving in DC, I sat in an old friend's house alongside new friends to watch history unfold.
And I will always remember that when Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech, a soft, cooling, cleansing rain began to fall right outside the window.
Yes. Change has come.