05 November 2008

Now it Actually Feels Like a New Millennium

Three moments stood out for me last night.

The first was when I saw Driehaus leading Chabot. Within the hour he would be projected the winner and by the time I shut my eyes he was my new representative. This change is long overdue. Chabot is a textbook example of what happens to the weak-minded after years of willing participation in partisan politics. He is completely detached from reality and lives in the simpleminded world of talking points. Congratulations to Steve Driehaus and thank you for sticking a fork in Steve Chabot. He's done.

The second moment was when Obama took PA. Then FL. Then OH. Then VA. Holy fucking shit, I thought to myself... what the hell is going on here? Being a part of history is one thing, but taking a moment and slam-dunking it into the history books is a whole notha level. Sorry, John McCain, but you got your ass smoked by a one-term Ivy League brainiac who ran a well-planned, thoughtfully strategized and well executed campaign. I guess there really IS something more valuable than experience, eh?

The third moment was when Obama took the stage at Grant Park. I'll be honest, I haven't been a passenger on the Obama love train. The way I see it, the U.S. will have a black President at some point. And someday, a woman. Someday a black woman. Someday an asian, a paraplegic, an ugly person, etc. If this country lasts long enough, these things will happen.

The only issue is whether they will happen in my lifetime. But just because they happen doesn't make them great moments. They are historical milestones, yes, but not necessarily great ones. I cite Nancy Pelosi as an example. When she became the first female Speaker, we put a check mark next to that historical milestone. But will history record her as a great Speaker, someone worthy of being "the first?" No.

Contrast that with Jackie Robinson. If he was an ordinary player he would be a historical footnote, someone whose name pops up in trivia games. But his name is famous because he was not only "the first," he was also great. His achievements HAD to be recognized, respected, admired, and ultimately, honored.

It remains to be seen how Obama will fill those shoes which, though never worn, are immense with the burden of hope and expectation. But as I listened to his speech, I found myself reviewing the past 18 months and realizing-- or at least believing-- that we really are in the presence of greatness.

I'll be damned, I actually have hope.

2 comments:

JenJen said...

What an election, eh?

My first inkling that we were maybe gonna pull this off... Monday, after canvassing and placing door hangers all day, I went to my favorite little pub in Covington, Kentucky. Had on an Obama shirt but zipped up my hoodie because, you know, Kentucky, didn't want to get into it with anyone, just wanted a cold beer.

But that telltale symbol was sticking out and before she took my order (Harp and a Tullamore Dew, neat), my bartender said, "Obama!! Oh I hope you live in Ohio!!" Started chatting and then some of the other bar patrons joined in... all Ohioans, all early voters for Obama. I started to think... maybe, just maybe...

And of course on Election Night, the moment for me was when they called Ohio, because that's when the door really slammed shut. And even though I thought we'd win my state, I wasn't going to believe it until it really happened.

Thursday now and I'm still a little floaty and happy. Can't remember ever feeling like this before about politics. And I'm just so thrilled , and love looking around the intertubes and reading everyone's account of that amazing day that we will never forget. Thanks for this, WestEnder!

Mark said...

I'm still amazed about the overall victory, the victory in Ohio, the victory in Florida, and the victory against Chabot.