Land Of Hope And Dreams

>> Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I am a little overwhelmed, still. Just an hour or so ago, President-elect Barack Obama gave a speech that reminded of Franklin Roosevelt and brought me to the verge of tears. And maybe a half hour before that, Senator John McCain gave a concession speech that was brave, noble and patriotic.

We are in historic times. This is not an ordinary frame of time. This is a time that will be in American history books a century from now, whether the President-elect lives up to the promise of that speech or not. And I hope he does. It was a Rooseveltian speech--either Roosevelt could have given it, Franklin or Teddy, asking for patience and sacrifice, not gloating in triumph, one that did not promise false certainties in uncertain times, but that promised to keep the faith and trust of the office.

I don't know what to say at the moment--it's overwhelming, this sense that maybe a promise that this country attempted to make to itself a century and a half ago might finally be kept. But this seems like the right song for the moment, so:

Goodnight, and sleep well, my country. I love you.

ADDENDUM: As of 1:52 AM on November 5th, 100% of NC precincts are reporting, and the State Board Of Elections website has this unofficial result:

Obama/Biden (DEM) 49.67% 2,108,777
McCain/Palin (REP) 49.40% 2,097,531
Barr/Root (LIB) 0.60% 25,279
WRITE-IN 0.33% 14,097
[TOTAL VOTES] 4,245,684

If these percentages hold, my native state was on the right side of history in the past few hours, which means a great deal to me, personally. (In my hometown, Charlotte, nearly 62% of the vote went to Obama. That, too, feels good.)

And now I really do need to get to bed. Goodnight, all.

UPDATE 2008-11-06 10:25 PM: I'm so blue I'm thrilled! North Carolina declared for Obama earlier today!



Random Michelle K Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 9:21:00 AM EST  

My friend Erin posted a shot of my state, with our blue county surrounded by red.

So I understand your feeling about NC.

But don't let your worries about NC overwhelm the amazingness of last night, McCain's speech, and Obama's.

Take joy where it comes and leave the worries to themselves.

MWT Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 11:15:00 AM EST  

Ditto with my county. The rest of the state went red, but at least my immediate area is blue. :)

Arya Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 12:17:00 PM EST  

I felt proud showing Melody photos of last night's events. We explained why Jesse Jackson was crying, in the way a parent must to a four year old.

She gaped with wonder when we told her that people with darker colored skin used to not be able to [Long List] back in the long ago times.

We tried to explain what a president is. Since she doesn't much care for her teacher or principal, we were left with “Leader of America”. She liked that.

At one point, she asked if Obama was a superhero. I can't remember how we answered, because she thinks her uncle Eric is a superhero. I think we told him we were hoping he was a superhero, because he had so much work to do.

Before she left for school, we made sure she knew the name of new president of the United States of America.

(I know, "President Elect," but that's just too hard to explain to a four year old.)

We never told her before. I think because we never wanted to hear the words "President George Bush" coming out of her innocent mouth. It was like asking her to say something dirty.

We never told her much about the presidential election, because we didn’t think she would understand. Perhaps we were afraid McCain would win, and we didn’t want to explain to her why Obama didn’t.

(At Halloween, after speaking to a young couple in the neighborhood who had made their own Obama yard sign, I did tell her that Republicans were the scariest monsters of all. The couple had told us how their next-door neighbor kept defacing their sign. At one point, the witch had pasted “For Sale by Owner” atop their sign! But Melody just couldn’t say the word Republican, it was too hard of a word to learn at age four on Halloween.)

It was a good thing to hear Melody pronounce Obama's name. She said “Barack Obama” over and over, the angular first name contrasting against the round tones of his last. She said it as if tasting the syllables in her mouth. It reminded me of the way she looked when I gave her a slice of apple and some cheese, apprehensive at first, but with wonder when she tasted the combination.

I cried.

Melody was born in January of 2004, and I had despaired over how we would be living under Bush's rule until she was almost ready for kindergarten. Holding a newborn can make those years seem like eternity. I nearly killed myself, but it was the post-partum depression that would have been blamed. Although a large part of my despair was because I had lost faith in my country. I had so little faith left.

So, to hear Melody say the name of our newly chosen leader, one with such power to inspire people to work towards rebuilding all that Bush has destroyed...

I can’t describe the emotion. Part of it is joy. Part of it is pride. Part of it is relief, a renewal in my faith in the decency of Americans. But sadness lies there too. We had to see the dark to see the dawn. I am a firm believer that a utopia is worthless. Without sorrow, no one can truly appreciate joy.
Had Kerry won in 2004, Obama would not have had the opportunity to run this year. Does that mean that all the suffering inflicted around the world by the Bush regime is worth electing a good man for President? No one can answer, because no one can know.

All we can do is hope. Obama seems to have taken ownership of that simple word.

(When Melody hears it, she says, “That was what’s left in Pandora’s Box!” )

Let us hope then. Let us hope and take responsibility to ensure our hopes are met. That means work and sacrifice, something Obama made clear was the foundation of his ideals.

Hope without work is nothing but wishing.

Leanright,  Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 1:51:00 PM EST  

After a good night of thought and sleep..........

As much as I don't support his policies, nor his methods, I will hope for the best under our new President, Barack Obama.

What I am proud of today it America's determination to be the cutting edge force in the world, as we have done something virtually no other nation has ever done: We have elected a person of a minority race to the highest office in the land.

I would like to, on behalf of conservatives out there who will join me in wishing God Speed to Mr. Obama, and may the world that has criticized us as being a backward nation, take a good, long look at THEMselves, and realize that it will be a very long time before they have the fortitude to do what America has just done. France, Germany, other European Nations, you are challenged to show that YOU have got what it takes to be progressive, with more than just the empty rhetoric you have spewed in the direction of America.

Best of luck, Mr. President-Elect. We may not agree on policy, and you may have not received my vote, but I am pulling for your and your upcoming administration.

tim marshall, london Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 4:16:00 PM EST  

Arya. Beautiful sentiments. Thats the true meaning of Obamas victory - that it once you get past red blue politics you can see he won it for everyone.

Jeri Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 4:27:00 PM EST  

I hate to post a counterpoint - but I have a little bit of an issue w/ Jesse Jackson's tears, given his comments back in July. Sure, they were intended to be off the record, but going from that to what we saw last night smacks of crocodile, camera-ready tears.

As an independent, a small-l libertarian, I am grateful that Obama gets it, that he understands the magnitude of the challenge in front of him and is seeking to lead and gain the support of ALL his constituency, not just the Democrats.

I am encouraged by his charisma and vision, I think he has the potential to be another leader of the stature of JFK or FDR. Time will tell.

I wish him all the best. And... I thought McCain's concession speech rocked and showed the man's true colors - far too late.

Random Michelle K Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 5:26:00 PM EST  


I in no way doubt those tears were real.

For all he may have disagreed with things Obama said. With all he might wish it was him instead, I do not doubt the sincerity of that emotion.

Jesse Jackson saw Martin Luther King Jr murdered.

There is no way someone could live through that and then not be overwhelmed by the meaning of last night's election results.

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