Thursday, November 06, 2008

a brave new world

There's no doubt about it. Tuesday was a magical, historic night for America regardless of how you voted.

Like so many, I was glued to the TV switching from channel to channel watching the incoming results and listening to the pundits. And when it was projected around 11pm that Obama had passed the 270 electoral mark, I celebrated like millions of other Americans who have been galvanized and inspired by his remarkable candidacy. Remembering my days in Chicago, I was captivated by the diverse, inspired crowd spanning generations gathered at Grant Park.

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that Tuesday's results haven't fully sunk in yet. The next big fete will obviously be on January 20th.

As I stood in line that morning to vote, the energy amongst the first and long-time voters there was so palpable. I had never seen this polling station so crowded and rocking with restless participation. It felt so exciting seeing so many fellow citizens engaged and excited about the political process (regardless of their political sentiments). We hear so much about how so many Americans don't vote or are just apathetic about politics that witnessing the massive turnout Tuesday was both reassuring and inspiring. I hope this historical election will mark the beginning of a new period of civic engagement, which is fundamental to assuring that the social contract between the government and the governed is upheld. An informed and engaged citizenry is central to the welfare of the Republic and this is one of the reasons that I find Obama's message of civic engagement (and sacrifice) to be so great. Such a noble and necessary call to the people has been missing for some time. On a side note, my interest in volunteering as adult literacy tutor is in part due to my interest in increased civic participation. Literacy not only educates and offers to provide a better quality of life, but in a democracy it provides the fundamentals needed to ensure that government is accountable to the people on whose behalf they serve.

I'm very proud of Obama and America. Tuesday was something historic for us all. Watching the reactions from around the world was something special too. Obama will have no honeymoon, however. The challenges facing the country and indeed the world are serious, but there have been worst times before. Thankfully, we, unlike our forefathers, have the tools and resources to weather (hopefully) this gathering storm that weren't available to them. Despite all the apocalyptic talk, when one thinks about it we're actually living in the most prosperous, peaceful period in the history of our species. Our ancestors endured so much more, which of course doesn't mean that what's happening now is easy. It definitely isn't, but compared to their struggles, our present predicament could certainly be far more dire. Just go back 50 years and the world was more divided, inequitable, and scarred by more devastating wars. Go back 100 years. People lived shorter lives and again, great power squabbling left many millions more in suffering. Fewer states enjoyed the blessing of liberal democracy also. Autocracies, unlike today, were much more prevalent. Go back 500 years. Monarchies ruled, knowledge rested with the elite, slavery reigned, castes existed, today's curable diseases ran wild, and more. I won't go back any farther. 500 years is enough. 2008 is a Brave New World . . . by far. There's no comparison.

Obama, I think, has the skills necessary to become a good if not a great president. Interestingly, many of the nation's great presidents have emerged in periods of crisis. Nevertheless, it will be challenging. He'll have little latitude, I think, with the economy as it is going. He'll also have to work with a political system and Congress, which in the case of the former is broken and in the latter, has been inept in so many areas. I just hope people don't have unrealistic expectations expecting too much too soon. Considering the depth of the country's current problems, change won't be immediate. One term won't be enough. He'll need at least two terms to enact any meaningful legislation.

Obama Makes History

Celebration and Sense of History at Chicago Party

US Crowds Celebrate Obama Win

World Reacts to Obama Win

World Leaders React to Obama's Win

In Our Lifetime

Story of Obama Supporter Aged 106

Stepping Into the Sun

Thinking of Good Vibrations

Biden Sees Vice President's Role as 'Advisor in Chief,' Aides Say

Republicans, This Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Lives


Comment Blogger One Mother with Cancer said...

Wow, you put into words how I felt on Tuesday...

On a personal note, I found out yesterday that my cancer may have returned, I'll find out more in two weeks.

10:53 AM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

I'm going to email you.

10:56 AM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


12:52 AM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Thanks Kaylee.

3:05 PM  

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