Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Election Reflection

I wanted to blog about the election the minute Obama was announced as the winner.  I was so overcome with emotion that I just *had* to get out.  I wanted to get my thoughts out in a well thought-out, cohesive, manner.  But after staying up all night watching the returns, and talking about it with friends, family and co-workers over the next few days, I felt a bit election-ed out. 

So I never wrote the killer blog post.  But I feel like I need to record my thoughts for posterity, so I offer a collection of thoughts sent to friends over the days after the election.  I’m still in a bit of a “pinch me if it’s real” haze. 

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Initial Reactions…

I cried when the announcement was made, I cried during McCain’s speech and I bawled through Obama’s.

Of course I’m thrilled about the outcome.  But I’m also ridiculously PROUD– there was record voter turnout, there weren’t riots, there weren’t widespread reports of voter fraud. People participated in the process like never before… and, regardless of the outcome, that’s amazing.  Way back in the primary season, I had sincere doubts that America was capable/ready to elect either a woman OR an African American for President.  I’m thrilled that I was wrong.

I’m also thrilled that, for the first time since I’ve been able to vote, the outcome of the election was determined ON election night.  It was good to wake up this morning and not have to worry about court cases and hanging chads and stuff.

On Obama’s Appeal. . .

Obama played a different game than John McCain.  He played a different game than John Kerry four years ago.  What Obama was able to do that no one else could do was to impact people on an emotional, almost spiritual level.  People believe in him, regardless of race or political affiliation.  He has the power to inspire people and get them to act. It’s quite impressive, but could also become quite a burden once he takes office.

There has been a lot made about how Obama is “half white” and I actually think that’s part of his appeal/success.  People identify with him both because AND despite of his race.  The pundits will pick this apart in the next couple of days but one of the most telling statistics of the exit polls was that people who said that race WAS a factor and people who said it WASNT a factor voted in essentially the same numbers.  So this wasn’t as much about race as we had originally thought.  

Oh, and most “half-black” people identify as African-American.  Regardless of lineage, it’s still about the color of one’s skin.  Lenny Kravitz is half-white yet everyone thinks of him as black.

On the Swing States . . .

Indiana and Virginia are both traditionally red states that “switched” this time…. Virginia was the first capital of the Confederacy and hasn’t gone for a Democratic candidate in 44 years.  It was really monumental.
On John McCain . . .
McCain’s  concession speech was gracious and respectful.  I have always admired him (I think I’ve even called him my “favorite Republican” on occasion) and I appreciated what he had to say.  He was a good sport and I really think he’ll be an asset in the years to come.
I’m not sure what else John McCain could’ve done with his campaign.  Yeah, people will argue that he had a crappy campaign staff, or that picking Sarah Palin was the kiss of death.  Even though this is probably true, I don’t know if it would’ve helped.  McCain was playing on a completely different plane than Obama.  He was working from the old playbook whereas Obama invented an entirely different game.  It will be VERY interesting to see how the Republican Party re-groups after this loss.
 
On the Work Ahead . . .
I’m glad the election is over as well. But I hate to tell you– the “political crap” is no where near over. To use a sports analogy, winning the election is like MAKING it to the World Series, not winning it…. you still have to win once you get there.  And, unfortunately, politics is much more complex than sports, so there really never is a true “winner.” 
The Democrats got the presidency and BOTH houses of Congress, but (as they say in Spiderman) “with great power comes great responsibility.”  It’s not going to be easy to get the kind of change Obama promised.  He’s not going to single-handedly “fix” the country, but he’s also not going to destroy it.  We’re at war, the economy is crap, there are serious environmental and social issues.  No matter who won last night, it’s going to be a tough row to hoe these next four (hopefully eight) years.