Remember, remember the Fourth of November

5 11 2008

Remember, remember the fourth of November,
The election of hope and thought,
I know of no reason
Why this election season
Should ever be forgot.

(Thank you, Guy Fawkes, for this great piece of poetry.)

Watch it again:

Here are some optimistic thoughts.

It is in some small ways a bittersweet victory. We didn’t quite get our pony last night: We’re probably not filibuster-proof. We may still have to pander to Lieberman. We fell back on same sex marriage in one tenth of the nation.

But I expect the quality of politics to change in this country, and that will have impacts around the world. I see a role model, a teacher, a good parent, a community organizer for us to listen to and learn from. Most importantly, he has invited us into the discussion — he empowered millions of people who will not sit still now that they’re activated, engaged, and victorious. He has invited us to grow as citizens and as a country as he grows as a president and a world leader. He’s the first to admit that it will not be easy, but he also encourages us that the outcome will be worth it. He is, in a way, our mentor and our partner.

Specifically, California’s Proposition 8 may have lost, but by less than five percent. In the national election, Obama and his team managed to swing Indiana from the 2004 election, a complete upset. He didn’t just carve great blue swaths through a red map, he pushed the general tone of the map further toward blue as well. We have a lot to learn and a lot to put into action. Furthermore, while he may not have overtly supported gay marriage during the campaign (to do so would have been political suicide), he is a smart, thoughtful man. I have hope that the quality of his leadership will have a calming effect across the nation, that he himself will not support holding civil rights from others. I think over the next four, hopefully eight years, people will become more tolerant, will think broader and longer, and will think more about others. That is my silver lining.

The politics of the 21st century had a false start, and certainly these past eight years will shape many more to come, but quality of energy coming from our government has a chance to change. With the inclusion of several million newly excited citizens, from the ground up and top down, I think it will change.

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