A new day dawns for America

5 11 2008

Yeah, I know – another ridiculously long time between posts…..not like there’s anyone waiting for me to post anyways…but I’m going to try and post more often.  Writing is cathartic for me, and if nothing else, it’ll ease the jones I get when I need to put something into words…

But this is a historic day, and I want to be sure I capture my thoughts while they are fresh in my mind – plus then I might be able to actually get some work done…

I usually don’t like to delve into Politics as I find it to be a VERY personal topic.  People align themselves very tightly to a party affiliation, and often times they can’t (or won’t) understand how anyone else can have different ideologies than they do.  Me, I’ve got a different view on politics.  I’m very much a social liberal and believe that the government should help those in need and that everyone has a right to basic decency and a standard to which they should be able to live their lives.  No one should be able to thrive at the risk of endangering others.  But on the other hand I’m also a fiscal conservative.  If a big proposal comes up, my first thought is “How are they going to pay for it?”  The 10+ trillion dollar federal deficit that this country currently holds is driving me insane because that puts the country as a whole at a risk – no one could run a company with that much red ink, so why should a government be allowed to?  So that puts me firmly in the middle of the ideologies of both the Democratic AND the Republican parties.  And over the course of this past year, I’ve been in both – apropos, non?

As such, this past election cycle (I can’t say year since campaigning started in 2006) was very enlightening for me.   Only once in my presidential election ballots have I actually voted for a major party candidate.  I had never found a candidate which met my criteria for what a President should be.  I’ve always found them to be party shills who shifted whichever the way the wind blew at that point in history.

This cycle seemed to be shaping up the same way as well.  I was a registered Republican at the time, and I couldn’t find a viable candidate who held the same types of views as I did.  There were a few that were close, but either they had other personal issues which caused me to question their integrity and their ideals, or they didn’t last long enough in the cycle to actually get to vote for them (my state votes VERY late in the primary cycle).  So I started to pay attention to the other side of the aisle. 

The first major candidate was a former first lady who was running on a message of experience, but I questioned whether I thought the country was ready for a return to the drama which enveloped that family – nor did I think a number of her plans fit well into where I thought the country needed to go.  Next was the former vice-presidential candidate from North Carolina who I liked well enough the last time around, but he didn’t seem to do enough to be ready to move to the top spot, plus health issues with his wife which should have obviously come first but didn’t  (then there were the extra-marital things that creeped up later – oops)

Then there was the freshman Senator out of Illinois.  A very well-spoken man with high ideals, a steady hand with real ideas which fit into my trains of thought.  One who spoke not of party lines, but of real change within our government.  But I honestly didn’t give him a whole lot of thought.  For one, he didn’t have a long track record of government service (and people don’t trust those without experience), and two, he was african american and while I don’t think this way, the rest of america hasn’t historically considered anyone that wasn’t a rich white man to fill that post.  Yes, we’ve had some candidates (Jesse Jackson, Alan Keyes), but they weren’t really given the chance to make a serious run at the job.  And finally, he was going against the Clinton machine – a massive fundraising machine with a lot of political clout.  So while I liked the guy a lot, I didn’t give him much thought because I thought he’d be gone early in the race.

Then a funny thing happened – this guy won Iowa, an ultra-conservative state who NO ONE gave a chance to win.  Then he started to really gain momentum, raising money at unprecedented rates, all from small donations and no lobbyist money.  People were registering and changing parties to vote for this man.  Then he came out of Super Tuesday ahead and never really looked back.  Amid all the struggles and dirty campaigning, he kept on being the promise of hope and change that this country really needed.  So much so that when it came time to get ready for our primary election, I switched parties to support his candidacy (admission – OK, I also wanted to vote against Clinton as well).  My wife thought I was crazy (and still does), but I felt strongly enough about his candidacy and the direction he wanted to take that I wanted to do my part.  And it worked (yeah like my vote broke it all – he actually lost my state), he made it through the primary season as the Democratic candidate.

What followed was one of those election cycles that when it’s looked back upon, people should hang their heads in shame.  Racist attacks, religious bias (based on false accusations), attacks on his character and flat out lies about this man were spread with impunity and without regard for truthfulness or honor.  Attacks on the readiness of the candidate for the office of President, all the while with a vice-presidential candidate on the opposite side who was no more experienced, and less knowledgable in most matters since she didn’t have the two years to prepare for the role by campaigning as he had.  While the polls had him leading, it all had me worried that all of these months of hope would be dashed by the fear mongering which had been strewn about the weeks before the election.

Then an amazing thing happened on November 8th, 2008.  Voter turnout was at an alltime high – initial estimates lay it at 65% of all registered voters with some areas showing 70-80% turnout rates.  People waited in lines for hours just to make their mark, many of them for the very first time.  They wanted their vote heard. 

And heard it was.  In one of the most significant elections of the modern era, Barack Obama was elected to serve as the 44th President of the United States.  Not only was he the first African-American person elected to the highest office of the land, but he’s the first post-baby boomer elected as well.

Now, do I think he’s the Messiah as he’s often been nicknamed?  Do I think he’s going to magically make all the problems go away?  No.  I’ve often said that this presidency will probably be a one-term office because of the mess that the country is in.  There are two wars to resolve, an economy in the tank, an education system in dire need of help and a Social Security system on the brink of ruin because it can’t handle everyone who’s going to be drawing over the next decade.  But I do think he has the chance to be regarded as a great president if he can have some success going across the aisles and getting all the portions of congress working together for the betterment of the country and not the lobbyists.

Why do I think he can do that?  Because he’s got an extraordinary gift for oration and inspiration.  He also doesn’t claim to be able to do it himself.  He lays out expectations and also draws in the people needed to make something succeed – isn’t that what a leader does?

 

Congratulations President-elect Obama and Vice-President-elect Biden.  I look forward to seeing what you can pull off the next four years – they’ve got to be better than the last eight.

Edit:  I found another post that makes the case in a different voice, but I agree with the sentiment.

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2 responses

6 11 2012
Pete

Didn’t know you blogged. I guess you really don’t to often and the coincidence of me finding your post today is remarkable.

8 04 2016
keishasawyer13685

Bueno, si no hay oposicion no hay reuniones en las que discutir…ud83dude1bnsimple y realud83dude1bhttps://ameo.link/keishasawyer13685081745

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