1. For about a month or so leading up to the election, I had the graphic you see to the left in the sidebar of this site. Of course, I’m not so foolish as to believe that the tens of visitors I get on a daily basis would be influenced by it enough to change a McCain vote to an Obama vote. I had it there because I felt good about having it there. I can sum up the reasons why Barack Obama won last night pretty easily. One of them is that people like me, people that vote Democrat regularly, people that voted for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004, felt differently about Obama than we felt about both Gore and Kerry. We voted for Gore and Kerry, but we were not inspired by them. They did not represent generational change. They did not speak to us the same way that Obama does. I was proud to vote for Gore and Kerry. I was excited to vote for Obama. This is the first time in my life that I have gone beyond just voting and actually contributed financially to a campaign. My $25 probably didn’t pay for much more than a few streamers at the convention, but I was happy to provide what I could.
2. Obama represents a change, but not just a party change. As much as I loved the Clinton years – yes, we were better off then – there were aspects of Clinton’s presidency that were very much in-line with the twelve years of Reagan/Bush/Quayle. When Clinton was elected, it was a party change. We were telling the folks in charge, “hey, the Republicans have screwed it up long enough, time for the Democrats to give it a shot”. They gave it a great shot, but in a lot of ways, they continued some of the policies of the 1980’s. We all know what happened when Bush the Lesser got into office; he basically surrounded himself with people who had worked under Reagan and proceeded to pick up where his father left off. Obama represents a clean and total break from the policies of the past 28 years, going back to at least 1980.
3. The people who have been saying that this election is historic because Obama is African-American are only seeing half of the big picture. Yes, it’s historic for that, of course it is; but it’s more than that. It’s a total change in how we do business as a nation – and I couldn’t be prouder of my fellow countrymen who helped show the world that we can live up to the ideals that we espouse. For all the lip service that we paid to equality and opportunity over the past forty years, Obama proved that someone with a minority status and coming from the lower class can play by the rules, do everything that America expects of her citizens correctly, and work his way to the highest office in the land. Obama has proven the viability and truth of the American dream, and that is why this election is historic.
4. My daughter, who is now three, will likely not remember a time when someone with minority status wasn’t the president. She won’t remember Bush being president when she’s twenty, but she’ll sure remember Obama, especially if Obama serves two terms. I was born in 1975, and I sure don’t remember Carter, but I remember Ronald Reagan. My son, who is due to arrive in the world at the end of next month, will only be alive for about twenty days of the Bush presidency and the ending of an era going back nearly thirty years (or more, if you subscribe to the theory that all this began with Nixon). When my children are old enough to vote, it will be commonplace for minorities to hold positions of national significance, right on up to the presidency. That is the most “oh, wow” thing to me. That my kids are being born and growing up right on the edge of history. I always thought, growing up, that being 25 years old in the year 2000 would be great – I’d be an adult, fully mature and aware of the significance of my place in history. That pales in comparison to what I’m feeling about my children and their place in history today.