As you all know, last night’s election win by Barack Obama was truly a monumental event in our nation’s history. However, the significance of his win goes well beyond just electing an African-American to the highest office in the land. It showed that the bitter divisiveness, the us vs. them mentality of the past 8 years has come to an end.
First, I want to congratulate John McCain. He made these past couple of months a hard-fought battle that culminated with a Democratic win last night. Through his selection of Sarah Palin for VP, he did much to energize the Republican base who may not have turned out for this election. Unfortunately, he abandoned some of the good things he has worked on throughout his long career. He had been known as a maverick who wasn’t afraid to buck his party when they proposed bad legislation. John McCain showed us that he is no longer the maverick he once was when he kow-towed to the religious right and other hard-line conservatives. The American people showed him last night that they didn’t want 4 more years of failed Republican policies, but rather wanted the kind of change that Barack Obama has promised to provide.
These past 8 years, specifically the 2006 mid-term elections, have made me skeptical of any politician offering up change as part of their platform. Back then I thought that by electing a Democratic majority to Congress would finally get accomplished some of the most important things we wanted. However, 2 years later and we’re still not out of Iraq, and jobs are being cut across the country. The economy is in shambles and it’s going to take bi-partisan support to put it back together again. Good people are losing their homes as a result of the housing crisis. These are all things that need to be top priorities for President-elect Obama.
Personally, I want to see Obama be the uniter that George Bush, despite his promises, never was. I also want to applaud him for taking the high road despite being called a Socialist, a terrorist, a Muslim, and many other things throughout this campaign, both in public and private. And I ‘m proud of him for quickly and decisively addressing the negative things said about him personally or his policies.
But make no mistake, Obama has a tough, uphill climb ahead of him regardless of the Congressional gains we saw last night. His choices for Cabinet-level positions will truly be telling in whether he will be able to accomplish the change he promised. On January 20, 2009, we will see how much he can get done. But it is imperative that our elected representatives and we as citizens, both Republicans and Democrats, come together to realize the change this country so desperately needs. Now the real work begins.