Despite the abysmal excuse for a breakfast sandwich that I just consumed (seriously, how hard is it to put egg and cheese on a bagel and make it taste good? I think it's actually harder to make it taste bad. And yet the food counter downstairs in my building has stunningly surpassed its own low standards in selling what can only euphemistically be called a "sandwich" and deserves to be given a name that is really unprintable on a nice, modest blog like this one)... anyway, in spite of the euphemism that was my "breakfast," I am walking on air this morning.
I have hope for our country again.
Not just because of the outcome of the election (which delights me) but also because of the tremendous voter turnout. I think the resurgence of interest in participating in the political process bodes incredibly well for making changes, taking action, getting things done. John McCain's gracious concession speech, pledging whatever help he could offer President-Elect Obama, and asking his supporters to do the same, was a marker of the positive energy we need in order to move forward. With the good will of the world largely squandered by our current President, we need a new direction not just in politics but in attitude. Today I am hopeful that as the hard work of moving our country forward begins, we can put aside political differences to work together. This does not mean resisting other opinions. It means actually listening to each other rather than resting on talking points. It means cooperation and compromise.
It means harnessing for more than just one day the energy and good will that is waiting in line since 3:30am the night before to vote, and then giving up your spot in line to the wheelchair bound person behind you because you have the fortitude to stand there a few minutes longer. (That happened at one voting place in Ohio.) It means capitalizing on the excitement of all the children who walked out of my polling place wearing "I Voted" stickers because they were proud to have sat on their mother's laps and helped hold the pen to fill in the bubbles on the ballot. It means taking the excitement and energy abuzz on November 4 and making it last long enough for people to continue pitching in until together we make a difference not just in an election but in our collective lives.
If Barack Obama can raise $650 million dollars in campaign funds -- compared to John McCain's $75 million -- largely through grass roots efforts and in the form of small donations, then it is my hope that he is the man who can keep that individual enthusiasm alive. And whether you voted for him or not, I hope that your own deep commitment to voting at all, your own strong feelings about how we should move forward, will keep you involved in the process of making change for our nation. I don't exactly know what we should do next. "Having voted, now what?" seems like a reasonable question. And I am excited to figure out the answer.
For today, I am taking deep, cleansing breaths of the fantastic winds of change.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008