CNN.Com Live has just projected Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. As I type this, I am watching the reaction live in Grant Park through teary eyes, remembering another election year of hope 40 years ago, when two great charismatic leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert Kennedy were both stolen from us by crazy assassins.
Those were different times. The U.S. Secret Service was not as good as its job then as it is now, but still the shadow of those times haunts me. The tears I cried as an 8-year old in Chatham flow again in joy, just as I see them now live in the eyes of the Reverend Jesse Jackson's eyes on my computer and I can't help wondering if we are sharing some of the same thoughts.
It's been a long road since 1968. Suddenly the hope that was stolen from so many of us so long ago has been returned with the Election of Senator Barack Obama to the Office of President of the United States of America.
This election has not been about race, it has not been about addressing the wrongs of the past, but for those of us who remember with sadness, with great sadness the tragedies of the past, there is a meaning in this victory, beyond all that was said, that is difficult to express, but it is in the tears that stream down my face now.
There is much facing the country now. What will the new President-Elect do to prepare for his first term? How will he organize all his supporters found through the internet to help support his new initiatives and remind the new congress of the depth of his support? What new tools will he bring to the forefront? What will our new future look like?
We all have high expectations. We will all have to be prepared to give him a great deal of support. Are we ready to face the reality of the mess that we have been left? Are we ready to bite the bullet and dig in? Time will tell.
I am now hearing the concession speech of Senator John McCain. Somewhat earlier than I expected. It is a fine speech. Recognizing the historical moment, remembering the death of Obama's Grandmother, and pledging both his support and asking for the support of the Republicans in helping Obama in his Presidency.
The crowd is listening and reacting mostly politely. The negative reaction to the mention of Gov. Palin is perhaps to be expected. It is a Chicago crowd and many women felt insulted by her approach thinking that she was portraying a sub-intelligent model of a woman. I disagree. I think she was doing her best with the hand and preparation she was dealt with. But I am certainly glad and relieved she is not a heartbeat away from the Presidency.
Obama's acceptance speech: will it be regarded as one of the great American Political Speeches? I think so. I happened to be chatting online with a young friend from the south who had bought into all of the McCain fear propaganda about Obama and was basically afraid of him. I understood her fear.
Obama does represent change. Real change and McCain set him up as the boogeyman for many Americans. Connecting him with terrorists. Calling him a socialist. Trying to make people thing a Christian was a Muslim. Making people suspicious about where his money was coming from in one of the first true grass roots fundraising campaigns in history.
Her fear was natural. In many ways, his speech was meant for her as much as it was for any of us. For the changes Obama wants to make, he wants a united America. A healed America. A Nation in which the divisive politics of fear in which people thing an African-american candidate can win only if stupid people, or poor people vote for him is one of the past.
In the end, she was willing to pray for Obama. That was a lot I think. I think some of the fear was gone. But her disappointment like the disappointment of many, was real and would not go in a day, or after one speech. Actions, not words will be the key for voters like her.
I found Obama's speech to be stirring and exactly right. It was thrilling. A call just like Kennedy's to action. A reminder of the work ahead, not waiting for his inaugural address, but to say off the bat, we need to be ready to work now for change, acknowledging the difficulty of the task ahead, setting the tenor of the administration. And the theme. "Yes, we can."
He quoted Lincoln, he sounded like King, he looked like Kennedy, he was change embodied. And his crowd was America. His audience in Chicago was every age and color, more women than men, more white than black, more young than old. Let's face it, you had to be willing to stand till 11 pm just to see him. That favors the young.
Yes, we can. And in the end, he warned our enemies and embraced our friends. A perfect speech I think. And he reminded us that the win was not his win, but a win for us, and that he now had to earn the job.
I think I'll like this President a lot more than the last few. If I don't, you'll be the first to know. Maybe the VP will give me some material...
Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
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