Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

American Turning Point

"Yes we can!" changed from a defiant campaign mantra into a soft-spoken promise from the nation's new voice as President-Elect Barack Obama rallied Americans, not to celebrate his victory but join him in meeting "the challenges that tomorrow will bring...the greatest of our lifetime--two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century."

In his graceful concession, John McCain became again the admirable man he once was, congratulating Obama for "inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president" and wishing "Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president."

The sea of faces in Chicago's Grant Park said what Obama did not dwell on, that the face America now presents to the world will for the first time confirm the promises of our democracy.

Their joyful tears were a reminder of those shed by Vietnam war protesters, I among them, 40 years ago being tear-gassed in that place for exercising the right of free speech only a few months after Martin Luther King was killed for championing the right of African-Americans to vote in some of the states that helped Obama win the presidency today.

The irony in all this is that George W. Bush and his followers, who hate government, damaged it enough in eight years to make the country ready for a new generation and a new approach to using it wisely and well rather than trying to destroy it.

Tomorrow will be the time to start thinking about the challenges the President-Elect talked about tonight, but for the moment, savoring this historic turning point in American history is an emotional challenge in itself.

Climate change is coming to American politics, and it will take a while to adjust to a new environment in Washington and learn how to make the most of it.

1 comment:

Stimpson said...

He's a terrorist! A socialist! A friend to terrorists! A redistributor! A BLT sandwich!

After all the excuses the GOP offered closet bigots for voting against the black guy, people still elected the black guy. Ignorance has lost.

People are calling this a turning point for America. I sure hope they're right.