At 11:15 CNN called it – Barak Obama would become the 44th President of the United States.
I really hated not being with someone to share this historic election night. I had CNN on in my hotel room, and had hourly conversations with Laura, who was watching the same returns projected onto the wall with our LCD projector. Both of us felt confident of the outcome, but regardless of who won, the results were going to be historic.
I’ve already stated that I voted for Obama, and I did so for a variety of reasons. What I didn’t say was that I really like McCain – as a senator. He has been willing to reach across the aisle to build concensus and get things done, often at the risk of disapproval from his own party and constituents. That takes real political courage. In other circumstances I probably would have been satisfied with him as president (apart from his war stance.) McCain’s concession speech was gracious, and reflected the best of what he had the potential to be before this nasty campaign subverted his message.
However, this election was never about McCain. In a sense, he was a non-entity. People were either voting for or against Obama. To try to overcome this, McCain tapped Palin to generate interest and historic potential for his own campaign. I believe that completely backfired, as she was nowhere near up to the job, and that became apparent very quickly with the few actual news interviews she did, all SNL parodies aside. I know that those who were energized by her would wish a larger political role in the future, but I’m afraid she will bear the brunt of the blame for McCain’s loss, and will be relegated by her own party to some backwater. Does anyone remember Ferraro?
It’s one thing to disagree with a candidate’s positions on tax, the war, illegal immigration, etc. It’s another to completely villify someone just because they have a funny name, or because you don’t like the way they look. I couldn’t believe how utterly stupid some people were to perpetuate the stories that A) Obama is a Muslim, B) Obama hates America C) Obama is a terrorist. These people would have hated him regardless of anything he did. No amount of truth or attempt to dispell the lies would have worked.
Unfortunately, it was this base of stupidity to which the McCain campaign ultimately appealed. The phrase “pals around with” was tossed around by Palin to impart guilt by association, while ignoring her own dubious connections. Fortunately for this election, Obama’s constant positive message overrode those negative attacks. However, deep divisions obviously remain. Obama has lots of work to do.
And so it is a new day, and for most of America there is a hopefulness and energy that that hasn’t been felt in quite awhile. It is my hope that this energy is contagious, and that even those who didn’t vote for Obama will work for positive change in our country.
At least the campaign is over. I’ll leave politics alone for awhile.
4 thoughts on “Election Aftermath”
Very well said, Tom. It truly was the nasty attack/fictionalizing campaign that turned me off to McCain as well. Palin was even more into this, coming off as a charicature of an attack dog. I felt, when hearing her, like it was some B grade spot on Comedy Central. I truly wish Senator McCain had avoided the fictionalization of Obama, and simply stuck to his strengths and to critiquiing the legitimate concerns about Senator Obama (like the “experience” bit). I do have to say, though, that ‘experience” was over-rated in this campaign. Some significant people, like Jesus and Thomas Jefferson, did great things when they were “inexperienced”. I expect that Obama’s experience with working with people will trump much of what he supposedly lacks.
I hope that the Congressional leadership serves better than in the first two years of the Clinton Administration. And, I hope that talk radio is not able to further sully President-elect Obama’s reputation.
I wasn’t going to comment on your post. But two things got me. Number one, I just want to say this is well written, whether or not if I agree. Number two: Just a comment on your last paragraph about the hopefulness that America woke up to this morning – the NYSE didn’t get the message. 486 in the hole today.
I have to disagree with your reasoning. I voted for McCain and the primary reason was his stance on national defense, terrorism, and the war in Iraq. I disliked Obama’s economic views, but I’m not sure McCain’s were any better.
Among other reasons I heard to vote for McCain/Palin was the strong pro-life stance.
I won’t disagree that the election was nasty. I read a lot of blogs and there was nastiness on both sides. One liberal blogger suggested Palin should stay home with family (how anti-feminist). And I admit that the conservatives were strongly negative also.
The Obama is a Muslim, hates America and is a terrorist issues were overblown by the press and were never in the conservative blogs I read.
The beauty of this nation is that you and I can disagree about these issues and express our disagreement by voting for the candidate of our choice. Such discourse is necessary for a functioning democracy, and also serves as a series of checks and balances so that any one party doesn’t gain undo power.
Where I take issue is with those who would demonize others with opposing views.