Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This is about (liberal) politics; I completely understand if you do not read it.

In many ways I'm very proud of my country right now. I'm disappointed in California and the other states who passed propositions limiting the rights of gay Americans, but I'm proud of the US for electing Obama, and of my two states. Both Ohio and Virginia went blue, Virginia for the first time since 1964.

I wasn't intending to post anything here, but I came across a few things which perfectly express how I feel about this election.

"...for a very long time we have been told, if you do not support every action your government makes, you are unpatriotic. If you are against war and militarism, you are not a real American. The real America/fake America argument wasn't something that just came out of the woodwork a couple of weeks ago, it has been there all along. And I will say, that I think that for a long time, we, on some level, believed it. I did. I suppose I accepted it, thinking that, "okay if that is what patriotism is, I guess I'll plan my future as an expatriate."What Obama did is phenomenal, not just for the history he's made, but for making it possible for all Americans to be patriots again by demonstrating that there is no "real America" or fake America, just America. He really has given something back to us, and in giving him the presidency, we've given it back to ourselves."

"I couldn't believe how fast it had happened. One minute, Wolf Blitzer was saying the polls in the west coast were about to close, and then seconds later, they called it for Obama. I thought "no, wait, make absolutely sure, don't jinx this for us!" …
... I've always liked Obama (I remember watching his speech at the 2004 DNC and saying "that man is going to be president someday"), I just didn't understand what he meant to do with nothing more than hope. I wanted pragmatism. I wanted details.When he became the nominee, … I still didn't get my hopes up, because I was terrified of being disappointed; surely, something would go wrong."

"I truly honestly believed that we would be hashing out the election results for weeks. I was even prepared for what happened in 2000 to happen again. A clear, decisive victory was the last thing I had expected. I flipped over to CNN, and I wish I could remember the exact phrasing for posterity's sake, but the text at the bottom of the screen actually had "Barack Obama" and "president" in the same sentence, and I stared at it for the longest time. It was real, and it was happening, and it was happening now. And then I was reading y'all's reactions, and I found myself unable to feel any of the same joy or excitement or jubilation. I think I was shocked, mostly. My eyes were a little wet. And the thing is, I don't think I had realized until that moment how much I had lost over the last eight years, until the moment that I got it back, and that loss was suddenly what I was aware of. I realized right then that I had lost faith in pretty much anything this country stands for.

It's not over. One election doesn't solve anything--no matter who you elect, that candidate still has to live up to his promise. No matter what change you want, you have to get out there and make it yourself. But for the first time in a very long time, it felt like the country had opened its eyes again and remembered its name."

I was 13 in 2000, and 17 (just 6 months too young) in 2004, and I remember election night, sitting in the dorm room with everybody so incredibly hopeful, almost sure that Kerry would win. I wrote the next day, "all I can say is did you honestly think that Kerry was going to win?" It's been four years, but I can say that I probably did, certainly more than I admitted to anyone, including myself. This election, I didn't even dare hope. I honestly didn't believe that the majority of people (and actually of people, no interceding electoral college issues this time around) in the US, let alone so much of a majority, would support Obama. My sister called me immediatedly after they started to call Virginia as blue, and my friend after they announced Obama. Both times (I hadn't seen McCain's concession at that point) I couldn't muster up any excitement- what if it reversed, if they were wrong? I couldn't deal with having my hope up. This morning, then, when I looked and saw that Ohio was still blue, Virginia was still blue, Obama had still won, so many states had swung to blue, was amazing.

I know that change is going to be slow, but I've been walking around all day with a grin on my face, and I'm feeling cautiously optimistic.

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