A Brand New Day
We have a new president. We have our first African-American president.
It was a night of firsts really. But while everyone made the case that Obama is African-American and won for African-Americans, what keeps getting lost in the news is the real importance of this momentous election. We have our first mixed race president. A president who is not only African-American but who is also Caucasian. A man who is the epitome of unity. A man who spits in the face of racists on both sides with his mere presence. A man who won a large portion of the white vote, and the Latin vote, and the Asian vote, which he needed in order to win.
He is everyone’s candidate. And he won because the clear majority wanted it to happen. It wasn’t a close vote for a reason. The people spoke out loudly that they wanted change…but maybe not exactly the change the media points out. They wanted a shift in the way the US is viewed by the rest of the world. They wanted to feel good about their nation once again. They wanted to see someone who seems to genuinely care about them and the values they uphold lead the nation into the next century. The 20th century is now officially over and we move boldly into the 21st.
The Republican Party has a long way to go to heal them selves. It may take decades before they are able to make a real run at the presidency again, thanks to W and his "good old boy" attitude. That is if Obama follows through with his promises and message of hope and change. If he turns out to be like every other politician, then all bets are off. The cynic in me chooses to wait before getting excited about much where politicians are concerned.
I ended up voting for him, but I had to look at it the way I view every presidential election. I went with what I felt was the lesser of two evils and I didn’t make my decision until about a week ago. I consider myself a hard line moderate and the extremes bother me at my core. I've never taken a person's gender or race into account when making my decision, always focusing more on their politics and track record. I started out leaning toward McCain until he picked a complete bible thumping maniac for a running mate. The news media has been stating that Palin turned off a lot of McCain’s moderate base, which he needed to win the election. Well let me be the first to confirm that report.
So Obama has his chance to make something better out of the mess we’re in. He has the opportunity to help shift the country back toward a more centric ideal, away from some of the far right nonsense. He will be tested and it will not be easy, even though his party is in complete control of the house and the senate. It won't be an overnight or rapid change, because governemnt is inherently slow. He will face major challenges, not the least of which will be those who still hate and won't ever accept a non-white president. That might end up being his biggest challenge of all and it’s a dangerous one to have.
But there is finally a shift in ideals that led to this historic change. My grandfather’s generation has left the voting pool (he was one of those types that would never vote for a black man for any reason and if he was still alive would probably have keeled over dead during McCain’s speech last night) and now the younger generation, who has been raised with a more open mind, is making their voice heard. It is a beautiful thing, but we aren’t at a point as a society where the hate is completely gone. It will be interesting to see what the next few years will bring. Can Obama really unite the country and help strip away all the hate mongering, both white and black? Only time will tell.
We are all humans after all, no matter what our skin color or background. So what is really going to matter when everything is said and done is what Obama did as a man, not his race which he had no control over. What none of us have any control over. The one thing about us all that should have little to no bearing on our daily lives.
Go out and smile at everyone today, no matter what race or social status they might be. It’s a brand new day…