Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Day After Election


I was not surprised at the outcome of the general election last night though I will admit that I was a non-believer just a few short months ago. I was then convinced that Hillary Clinton was the stronger candidate. In the weeks that followed the Democratic National Convention brought me to the point of believing.  I have been immersed in Democratic Party politics for many years and what I witnessed down the stretch was perhaps the closest think I've seen to a perfect election campaign.  I am well aware that there were a number of things that led to a favorable climate for Democrats, but that said, there was no way this election would just fall into our laps.

After eight years of a president that has taken this country to a number of new lows and brought himself to a status of insignificance, America is not willing to settle something less than they believe they deserve. Ready for change, Barack Obama became the change that a majority of Americans could believe in.

The laundry list of problems facing the new president is daunting. It's almost enough to thank maybe the Democrats would be better letting the GOP claw itself out of the hole it dug for us. But more of the same is what you get when you keep trying things the same way. Democrats would be letting the country down if the cowered from the tasks ahead.

There are a number of things that went through my mind last night as Obama was giving his victory speech at Grant Park in Chicago.  There was the irony of the history of Grant Park and the demonstrators and police clashing there in 1968 during the Democratic National Convention. I also thought about the fact that in spite of several who have tried, America has never elected a Vietnam War Veteran President and this is likely the last one who will be of the age to try.

Last night was transformative in so many ways and the election of the first African American to the nations highest office is but one of those ways. It is clear to me that the polls clearly show broad support across various demographic groups. Gender, race, religion, age... clearly the fifty state strategy showed a log of confidence in the candidates message. In fact for all of the McCain charges about Obama on taxes, his support among those earning over $200,000  a year was substantial.

America is ready to turn not just a page in it's history but move on to a whole new story. Obama and the nation face multiple serious issues immediately. Obama is not a magician.  Before the election he made it clear that economic turmoil  we face will temper some of what we can undertake immediately. What I believe will benefit our country is a more inclusive attitude in the oval office. Do you recall Bush pledging to bring this nation together after the 2000 election was over? Well, I suppose he has in one respect.  It is out of the catastrophic failures in foreign policy, economic policy and loss of American standing around the world that he has brought us together.

Americans have rejected the many failed policies of the past eight years. They have expressed the view that hope is desirable to fear.  That they will not easily buy into wild charges of campaign-bait rhetoric.

After the past two elections with razor thin margins and periods of uncertainty, it was refreshing to learn the outcome by 10:00 p.m. central time. The election gods smiled upon us.

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