Having invested as much time and energy – even money – into Barack Obama’s candidacy as I have over the past 18 months it’s hard not to wax sentimental after his historic victory last night. Even now, I’m not sure I can summarize everythiing I want to say about his historic campaign, and the excitement I feel about his upcoming time in office.
I’m proud of America this morning.
There is no mistaking that race was a factor in this election, and Obama’s ethnicity certainly motivated many Americans to support his candidacy – and some to oppose him. But when it was all said and done, the results showed that race was not as big a factor as many had feared it might be. As it turns out a black man can be elected President of the United States of America. I’m hoping every teacher in this city opens class with that reminder to students today.
I’m also proud to be an American this morning.
I’ve always been proud of my country. When we are at our best, we truly do have the potential to be that “beacon” to the rest of the world that we’ve heard so much about. But I’d be a liar if I didn’t also confess that my enthusiasm for that potential had been all but snuffed out in recent years.
One of the main reasons I supported Barrack Obama so fervently was that he reignited my passion for America. Admitedly, I was initially drawn in by his soaring rhetoric and lofty speeches about the greatness of America’s potential. But I was further motivated as I saw such a diverse range of people come on board in support of his candidacy. Three million people gave money to support Obama’s campaign, most of them giving less than $200 each. Countless others gave their support through whatever means they had accessible to them. It was “bottom up,” small and incremental. And after it gained momentum it became a movement.
America is a movement.
One thing I know for certain is that Obama’s presidency will not be perfect. He will make decisions I disagree with, and I’m sure he’ll dissapoint me from time to time. No candidate could ever possibly reach such lofty expectations as those that have been set before Obama as he heads into the Oval Office. But Obama’s campaign was never about how great he might be as President. All he ever talked about was how great we could be as a nation. And that is a movement I will gladly throw my weight behind whenever I’m asked.