Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"It feels different to be an American tonight"

This is four years, four months in the making for me.

In July 2004, I saw Barack Obama give his speech at the Democratic National Convention. I wasn't excited about John Kerry. I was excited about Barack Obama.

For me, this is not a partisan issue. Yes, I tend to vote Democratic. Yes, I guess I'm politically liberal. But what does that mean anymore? I have cringed at the wasteful spending and the nation-building of President Bush, which really makes me politically conservative. Temperamentally, anyone who knows me will tell you I am pretty traditional and conservative.

I think more importantly, I am patriotic. I love America, and that love is based on hope and a belief that it always has something better to give than what it is giving. I saw Obama's 2004 speech, and I said, "This is a man who can bring us together. This is a man who can remind us that we are all Americans, we all have a common cause, we all are united behind the idea of a bill of freedoms that may currently be on shaky ground but will always be worth fighting for."

I knew Obama was the man who could remind us that we're all in this together. He will do that. I have been a little bummed to see the divisiveness that has come about in the last months of this campaign, and I know that there will be Americans who are not ready to accept this outcome. I am watching McCain supporters boo President-Elect Obama's name now. That is disappointing and leaves my constant optimism suffering a little. But the healing has to start somewhere, and I think it's starting now.

I have some very red-state people in my life whom I love dearly. I am so done with thinking in terms of red state and blue state. I think that what we are seeing tonight is proof that we will overcome that distinction. I am now hearing McCain supporters applauding the historic nature of America's first black president. The healing has to start somewhere.

Let's start it now. God bless America.

1 comment:

King Jimmie said...

Possibly my favorite words ever spoken by a politician came in Obama's acceptance speech when he reminded McCain supporters that even though he did not get their vote, he will still be their president and he will still work for their interests. Not those exact words, but you get the idea. No nose-rubbing, but instead, reassuring and unifying. Many don't know it yet, but this was a victory for both sides - and everyone in between.