Yes, We Did!
Congratulations, America! We recognized and elected the greatest leader we have seen in over forty years. We will have competent government again.
The Oval Office will house a first-class intellect and a first-class temperament. Swarms of competent, intelligent, well-educated experts will converge on Washington. There they will overcome their predecessors’ legacy of shame and shambles. They will serve under leadership that is inspired, disciplined, realistic, pragmatic, honest, and steady as the North Star.
We will redeem ourselves and regain the world’s respect and admiration, because we had the common sense to elect the best candidate. Our eight-year national nightmare is over.
So many uplifting visions float through our minds. There were Barack and Joe and their wives Michelle and Jill, arm in arm and hand in hand, living personifications of Dr. King’s Dream and Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition. There was Jackson himself, with tears in his eyes, watching the triumph of a movement that he helped build, and for which he fought so hard, so long and so nobly. He never gave King’s Dream up, and he saw it come to life last night.
The venue was Grant Park in Chicago. Forty years ago, on that very spot, a police riot near a bitterly divided convention destroyed our national cohesion and the Democrats’ chances to rule effectively for two generations. Today, hundreds of thousands of peaceful, jubilant faces filled the Park. The vast majority of them were white. Their numbers and radiant joy proved how racism no longer dominates our society.
The last vestige of Richard Nixon’s vile legacy—his “Southern Strategy”—expired last night, somewhere on the electoral map. It death was us Boomers’ greatest achievement, perhaps our only lasting one.
Now gone—we hope forever—are the politics of fear and smear that laid us low. Like a scuba diver emerging from a long undersea tunnel, the old, “real” John McCain popped up again last night. His concession speech was gracious, noble, and profoundly American.
For years to come, his supporters will wonder if he could have won, if only had had kicked the Rovian thugs out of the stable and run his campaign as nobly as he conceded last night. Chastened, the real McCain will return to his honored place in the Senate. His and his supporters’ remorse will help speed our national reconciliation and reconstruction.
As Barack Obama’s sober victory speech reminded us, this triumph of common sense and competence is only a first step. The road up from our mire of distraction, division and discord will be long and steep. We have lots of work to do.
We will all join that work, not just Obama, Biden and the hordes of experts who will follow them to Washington. Every one of us who supported them will have to work as hard to restore our country as we did to get Obama elected. Once again proud of our leaders and confident in our future, we must make America America again.
But for the time being, let us savor the day. After so many years of so much that was base, stupid and downright evil, we have done what many thought impossible. We have changed our direction profoundly and for the better.
We will have a smarter, better educated, tougher, and nobler team at the helm. Now we can begin to put our house back in order and hope some day to lead the world again.
P.S. A personal note. Now that we have saved ourselves, this blog will go back its pre-campaign tempo, at most one or two posts a week. For previously non-political people, my wife and I have made an extraordinary effort to speed this day. Besides my writing and our financial contributions, part of which I’ve described here, we’ve housed an Obama campaign worker in our home for the last three weeks. On election day, we rose at 4:30 a.m. to help protect the vote. We wanted to do everything we could to help restore grace and competence at the top.
Until last night, my wife was fearful that fear and cynicism might rob us of success and destroy hope, as they did in 2000 and 2004. Now that our efforts—and those of millions like us—have succeeded, it is time to get back to a normal life, confident that our top leaders know what they are doing. We are in good hands, or we will be in 76 days.