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Election Reaction, Part Deux

November 5, 2008

I'll preface this by saying I voted for John McCain yesterday.

A heartfelt congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama. This was not, however, a historic election; this was a seminal election. To call it historic is not necessarily a misnomer as it will certainly resonate in history books for generations to come. However, to simply label it as historic conveys a sense of looking back, of not just clinging to the past, but of wallowing in it.

No, I don't think America will be clinging to the past after seeing the election of our first minority President, and if you are to believe Obama's words from this campaign and election season, then you realize that his main focus was on the future. The fact that America has shrugged off centuries of hatred, ignorance and bitterness before any of our culturally and morally superior allies in Europe means something. It means that America is still leading the way in ingenuity, invention and discovery. It means that the American dream is still alive and well and, perhaps, that dream is personified in no better person than the 44th President of the United States.

I describe this as seminal because the results of the election from last night will resonate for as long as there is a United States of America. It will color us. It will influence us. I believe, despite being a McCain supporter, it will better us. The importance of this election should not be seen in shades of blue versus red or even black versus white. The importance of this election should be seen in shades of red, white and blue, because we as a nation have improved our image, and it was much needed. We did not need to improve our image to the rest of the world, but we needed to improve our image of ourselves to ourselves.

I'm not so naive as to believe that racism has been completely eradicated from our nation; the disparity in the exit polls and vote tabulations in Virginia alone are too much to ignore. I will say, however, that the past two years have done more to mend and improve race relations since Martin Luther King, Jr. led the charge for civil rights. Seminal, indeed, for the next four years should do even more than the past two.

As a gracious and, I believe, honest John McCain said last night, the fight is over and though my candidate did not win, it's time to set aside petty differences and work together to unite the country and move it forward into a new era.

I personally may not like the notion of spreading the wealth, and I don't believe that it's patriotic to pay more taxes, but I do think that change is on the horizon, and hopefully that change will be for the better. I think, however, the biggest change that Obama will affect--albeit, perhaps, unintentionally--will be a wholesale change of attitude in the Republican party. Gone should be the days of clinging to the past and holding onto an electorate and hoping that will simply be enough to get you through. It's time for the Republicans to reach out to minority voters. It's time for the Republicans to reach out to female voters. It's time for the Republican party to not fall to the whims of the evangelical right, but to listen to everyone. It's time to realize that "family values" doesn't necessarily mean a mother and a father and passel of children, but that family values should focus on whatever family you have. It's time to embrace the notion of alternative energy sources. It's time to no longer demonize those who speak Spanish. It's time to stop saying that we need to fix social security and welfare and time to sit down and explain why we need to fix those things.

In short, it's time to modernize. It's time to change. Images by Ashleigh has a good post up about the current political climate, and it was made before the election. While I don't think we get anywhere if we become one big happy familial political party (in fact, I think more parties would benefit our political system), I do think she raises a good point about how we need to set aside our differences long enough to better this great nation of ours.

This country--and our world--has suddenly changed. In the past few months, not only have we seen a minority candidate run, be nominated and win the Presidential election, but we have also seen two women challenge for the two most powerful jobs in the world. Whether you like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin or not, the contributions they gave to the political machine in this country will be invaluable for years to come. Change is upon us, and whether you agree or disagree with the new administration's doctrines, you have to agree that we will all benefit from the changes that have occurred.

Congratulations, President Obama. You've just been elected to the most thankless job in the world (that doesn't involve diagramming defenses and/or pitching changes), and no matter what, someone is going to be disappointed with the job you do. Good luck, God bless, and make the most of it. For better or for worse, we'll all be watching you.


Frank said...

This was beautiful. I couldn't have said it better myself (although I voted for Obama). John McCain has my deepest respect and I hope we can all put aside our differences now and recognize this election for what it was, a stunning achievement for a new and resurgent America.

Poobomber said...

Great post!

I was really impressed by John McCain's speech last night. I believe he would have been a good president as well, I just thought Obama was better.

And for the record, this is going to impress upon the world now that America is changing for the better.

For Americans at home, they often don't realize how poorly their nation has been viewed by foreigners. I think Obama's election is really going to change that impression again - America is going to be the nation to beat if Obama follows through on his promises (which of course won't be entirely possible, but still, there's hope.)

Anyways, congrats on your new leader even if he wasn't your choice. I'm impressed to see so many people today that voted for McCain aren't bitter and that really goes a long way to improving the Republican image itself, just like you've done.

I realize I'm rambling a bit, I'm just stoked about the attitude of the nation today (as I see it). Kick ass. I like America.

Ashley said...

Well written! I agree wholeheartedly...and to move foward in this nation we need to get past squabbling over differences; but rather, we must accept that what makes this nation amazing is that we have so many differences. Life would be boring otherwise, no?

LYDIA said...

As a previous McCain supporter, I couldn't have said it better. Great post!

Gwen said...

Great post. Seminal; that IS the right word. Every interview I heard today given by Republican politicians was that they heard the voters - that change and progress is indeed what we want, no matter who we supported in the race.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Wow. That was quite eloquent. Nice work.

Ψ*Ψ said...

Well written, though I did vote for the other guy. I don't have anything against McCain, though it will be nice to see Palin out of the spotlight. Perhaps this will cause a schism in the Republican party--I know a lot of conservatives, many very religious, who do favor separation of church and state. I might even support such a candidate, despite my far-left leanings. In the wake of this election, the Libertarians might even rise to respectability as a third party and might see some candidates elected at the national level.
You'd think we would be able to reach SOME consensus on taxes. We'd all benefit from less bureaucratic stupidity in government (maybe I'm talking about myself here, because I see it at work every day--I swear there is one state office devoted to devising stupid policies to annoy the rest of us). But we also benefit from public schools that are fully funded and bridges that don't collapse.

Stop Smoking said...

History was made indeed - and it is wonderful to see hope in people's eyes again...

Will Shannon said...

Well said.

I will have my own reflections in the next few days.

I (unsurprisingly) tend to take the long view of these sorts of things. Are things different now? Well, yes and no.

Does this say anything about our country? Depends on who you ask.

The religious right is a festering pustule on the body of the GOP. It has been there for too long. It must be cut away. There, I said it.

More to come at COTL later on.