As the dust begins to settle and the gravity of what happened on November 4th has finally set in I am left with an overwhelming sense of optimism, elation and most of all, relief. For the first time in my twenty year voting history I’ve cast a vote not only for a winner, but for someone for whom I have the greatest respect and admiration. This time around it wasn’t merely a choice between the lesser of two evils – as it was for my only other winning vote which was cast for Bill Clinton in 1992. This time my vote was more of a confident defiance against what the media has been force feeding me for well over a decade: the notion that we are somehow this ignorant, hollow-values based society who takes comfort in choosing incompetent leaders because somehow they are more like “us” and that a warped interpretation of the teachings of Jesus Christ has to be the defining factor in every decision made by our leaders. As President-Elect Obama exclaimed on more than one occasion, “Enough!”
I admit, watching the results come in Tuesday night I was apprehensive about an Obama victory. Not because I thought that he wasn’t the better candidate, or that he wouldn’t garner the most votes. No, the number one reason had to do with my cynical side which has been reinforced too many times with devastating disappointments. I felt certain the Republicans would cheat their way into another victory. Even when the final tally was called, fittingly enough by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, I thought they were joking. It wasn’t until the next day, watching Obama address the massive crowd in Grant Park on C-SPAN, that I was hit with the awesome magnitude of the moment. America got it right. Finally. The deep pride I felt cannot be compared to anything I’ve ever experienced. Infinitely bigger than Springsteen, Elvis or the Red Sox win in 2004.
As the final chapter of this nightmare that has been the Bush administration finally comes to a close, and all we now must endure is a weak epilogue, I can at last reflect with as sense of assured satisfaction on all the stress-inducing, throw things at the TV moments that have taken up far too much space in my life throughout this campaign. Good bye and good riddance to:
- Joe the Plumber
- Sarah Palin and her entire family
- Reverend Jeremiah Wright
- Bill Ayres
- John McCain’s evil twin (the one who took over these last several months on the campaign trail)
- Are we ready for a black president?
- The Bradley Effect
- You betcha (wink) again, also too…
- Secret Muslim
- Hank Williams, Jr.
Perhaps this vote proves once and for all that America is essentially a liberal thinking country. That her people may have diverse backgrounds and beliefs, but in the end reason trumps ideology. It’s been a long time coming, and it took a Hell of a lot of screw ups to finally stir the sleeping giant from its dream of petty consumerism and “I, me, mine” world view. Who knows what lies ahead? Obama has his work cut out for him, and I’m sure there will be mistakes along the way. But as far as I’m concerned, if Obama can’t fix us, no one can.