November 5, 2008

A New Direction; Challenges Ahead

It almost didn't sound like a victory speech. President-Elect Obama took the stage and addressed not just his supporters, but the citizens of this great country.

Young Americans came out in surprising numbers to support Obama, showing concern for the future of a country which an increasing majority of Americans describe as "moving in the wrong direction."

Technically, Obama is the president-elect. But he is going to have to act like a president starting immediately. If you're an American, he's your president now. He'll immediately be making important decisions for our future. In this complicated time, there is no waiting. The hand-off will have to be smooth.

Apart from the foreign and domestic challenges, Obama inherits a divided country. Can he increase his support and reach out to those who did not vote for him? We just elected a black man with the middle name "Hussein," a man who was criticized for being associated with America's most hated type of enemy, and accused of harboring ideologies that are completely distasteful to the average American. But he was still elected, and especially enjoyed a surge within the population of college educated whites, who usually break much more to the Republicans. I think he has a basis from which to grow more broad support. And after seeing his campaign, I am convinced he will do it.

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Posted by James at November 5, 2008 7:24 AM
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I think he can, and I think most Americans will respond. He does not have to "unite". He only needs to swing "division" back to the realm of "opposition". And I think he knows how to rule from the center.

I also feel McCain does as well, but the fact that he made himself so beholden to the "base" of his party convinced me he wouldn't.

I can tell you that most of the people I know in my profession voted McCain, and this morning, almost every one of them is saying "now it's time to give him a chance". But then again, we're all conditioned (not to mention bound) to do what the C in C says anyway.

I'm as concerned about the far left as I am about the right. I think many idealogues may be thinking sweeping, total change, and the realities of office and the current situation - internally and internationally - will make that very difficult. I hope those people don't get disillusioned.

So, I guess, if everyone takes a step (or two) toward the center, they don't necessarily have to swap spit and sing koom-ba-yah (sp?), we'll do damned well.

Posted by: Bull at November 5, 2008 9:12 AM

He can do it. But he can't do it alone. WE will do it. Yes we can.

Posted by: Chuck S. at November 5, 2008 9:20 AM

Good point about the left as well. They are out there. Despite what was heard from the opposition during the campaign, Obama is not a radical. These people may be disappointed.

I just want to see things get better. I'll be happy to see more optimism and unity over common hope rather than fear.

I knew I'd be happy about an Obama win, but I'm surprised by some of my emotions this morning. I am not usually an optimist, but I can't help myself today.

Posted by: James at November 5, 2008 10:48 AM

One thing I found amusing last night was the number of TV people who struggled not to refer to Obama as "the President"... in some cases even before it was official.

Again and again, I heard news anchors saying "the president, er, president-elect Obama."

Frankly, I think it would be okay with Bush if he could go back to the ranch today and send for his things.

Posted by: Julie at November 5, 2008 11:36 AM

I'd be happy to help him pack.

Posted by: Chuck S at November 5, 2008 1:08 PM

I hear you, James, I, too, am very emotional about this. How can we not be? For too long I've felt that there is no hope for our country anymore, that the fascists won, I don't think I was alone in that. But this... This really does change that feeling. To see how joyous - and that's the only way to describe it - joyous - people were all over the nation. The feeling of hope, of "we can do it" It's brought tears to my eyes.

For the first time in my life I am thrilled by the president elect! Aside from prop 8, conservative laws were denied at the polls! Dems took the house and the senate again! You and I have spent our life times in the shadow of the GOP: Reaganism, Friedmanism, neo-cons, moral majority, right wing takeover of the air waves, Atwater politics, Rovian politics, all in our lifetime. I can't help but feel that this election was a kick in the balls to that GOP and its fringes.

What better news could there be? There's a long way to go, but for once I actually believe we can do it. I think most of us do now. His campaign seems to have replaced the pervasive sense of fear and dread with feelings of hope and optimism.

And that alone is all the change we really needed!

I can now say with heart felt honesty "God Bless America"

Posted by: Rui at November 5, 2008 10:48 PM

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