A Moment for Hope
When I started this blog it was my intention to avoid politics. It wasn't a superficial or callow decision. I had put more of myself into the 2004 election than I had to give and the results left me disheartened and cynical, not only about that election, but about what was possible in politics. I have often found myself tempted the last few months, to use this blog to chime in but I've managed to resist the urge. However, I did come to understand that when this election ended I would use this space to voice my after thought. I had thought that, that afterthought, would a commentary about the dirt in politics. But November 4th was a transformative moment, for the nation, and for myself. I have been inspired, by my fellow citizens whom have joined with me to make history, and by this amazing leader whom has made his case by talking directly to us, and, by example, has reminded us about the best side of ourselves. I am, in general, a cynic. I don't believe in believing in politicians. But I do believe in Obama. We don't know exactly what we are going to get from him, but what we've seen is that he is poised, sober, and very very thoughtful and brilliant. I believe we are going to have a leader, and one that is dynamic enough to modify his positions to find solutions that work.
Obama wasn't elected because he was black, but he wasn't elected despite it either. It's not that Obama isn't a brother, it's that he's a brother to all of us. We are all in this together, and not just because we're stuck together, but because we are brothers and sisters. We are not going to find that Obama is the perfect politician, and we are not going to see the end of real world problems. We need to not make the mistake, as they did in the 60s, that we're on the verge of The Age Of Aquarius. But at the same time, we really need to take this moment forward with us. We have grown up believing this wasn't possible and I don't believe as a nation we were ready to move this forward this fast, not only to elect an African American to the presidency, but one with a Muslim name. It has given a reason for the last eight years. But most of all, it shows us that this particular man is more than his race and his name. He is a truly remarkable, brilliant man, who has the ability to assess the situations in front of him, work though a strategy, and effectively communicates his message in a way that enagages, captivates, and inspires, the people he makes his case to. His message is inclusive, and it is an example for all of us.
It has been my desire to leave my daughters a world where they have every opportunity I've had to reach their full potential, and have a healthy, happy life. We have been given a lot of reasons to be afraid. Those reasons are not suddenly gone and there will always be threats. But we have taken a huge step in a day. We have sent a message to the world that we truly are what we claimed to be and I believe we are immediately safer because of that. My daughters, too young to understand what's happening now, will never fully understand what a truly historic moment this is. They will take for granted that there was a time in our history that you could only be a white upper class male in America, if you wanted to be president. And I'm glad about that. I will teach them about the progress of this moment, just as I was taught about the civil rights movement of the 1960s. But for them it will be history.
For today, there is reason for hope. And that is something I have not dared to do in a long time. I finally believe my children have a chance for the future I want to leave them.
The Future For Republicans
Take this for what you will. I am not a Republican but I am not so foolish to think that we have seen the last of Republican power. I believe in a balance of power and I can accept that there are needs for checks and balances. What's would be good for Republicans politically is also what will be good for all of us when Republicans do carry power again, which is for the party to become less divisive, and more pragmatic.
The reason Obama won isn't because we know exactly what kind of policies he will give us but because he was calm and poised under pressure, and that he showed respect for the other side. He has been inclusive and promised to be the president of all people, and not just the people whom voted for him. There is a stark difference there to what we got from Bush.
What will the new Republicans be? Will it be about sticking it to liberals, something Obama isn't doing towards conservatives? Because, like the world with globalization, America is changing. A generation is passing and the America that is dawning is not divided with red and blue borders. The liberal is a son or brother to a conservative. The gay or lesbian is a co-worker. Insulting, attacking, and disenfranchising the other side is no longer the winning formula. And it lacks character and dignity.
Obama won because he was positive. He won because he didn't scare people, he made them feel more confident. Obama could not have won without independents and even without some conservatives. The generations are continuing to turn and the country is going to become more comfortable with change as it happens. If Republicans want to tap into that energy, they need to get beyond "liberals suck". Because, though we disagree, it doesn't mean we have to be enemies.