It's been twelve long years since I've felt good the day after a presidential election, but boy do I feel good today! I have to say for the past eight years, the course our political leaders have followed has given me great pain. I've dealt with it by going numb to a certain degree, as if I were in deep freeze.
With Barack Obama's decisive victory, I'm suddenly back in the sunshine. As I listen to the post-election analysis on public radio (I wasn't able to stomach the news much during the "dark years"), I find myself tearing up again and again. Most of it is "good" tears of pride in my country for proving again it is the land of opportunity and hope, joy that a leader of intelligence, judgment and genuine caring will be taking over as president, and profound relief that we can begin moving forward again under the energy and vision of a leader in the prime of his life. But I also realize that some of the tears are due to the inevitable pain at the thawing of my protective armor. Hope does take courage. In some ways it is safe and easy to be cynical about politics, but I do care, and I've always cared what happens to this country for my children and for reasons beyond my own limited self-interest. I realized when I visited Ellis Island a few weeks ago, that America really was the land of hope, freedom and higher ideals for millions of immigrants. And that magic at the heart of the American dream is still there today as yesterday's results prove!
BUT, when I'm not crying, I am definitely smiling! And I thank all of my friends for their hard work in making this possible. Jeremy Edwards and Craig Sorensen helped us win Pennsylvania. My sister worked for Obama in Virginia. To everyone who voted, everyone who cared--THANK YOU! And to President-elect Obama--I know you'll show everyone that intelligence, an understanding of complexity, and the wise planning you learned from community organizing (I'll bet you're not snickering now Guiliani and Palin) make for a great presidency.
Whew this hope thing feels good!