Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

January 3rd, 2008. I was in Asheville, NC just coming off of a mountain where I was skiing with some friends. We hadn't been near a TV all night, so, I was anxious to get back to the car and turn on the satellite radio to hear the returns of the Iowa caucuses, the first contest of the election season. I was just as amazed as the rest of the world to learn that, not only had Obama won, but he had done so in a big way. Even more shocking than that, the so-called front runner, Hillary Clinton, was in a fight for second place (which she would eventually lose). Me and my car-mates were Obama fans at the time, but we didn't know how realistic his chances really were, but we were hopeful. When we got to the restaurant where we were meeting our friends for dinner, a few of us stayed in the car to listen to Barack's victory speech, sensing we were in the front row seat to history. In the car with us was a fellow visiting the States from Australia. He knew even less about Obama than most US residents, he had only seen his name in the paper a few times. So, he stayed to listen to the speech with the rest of us. After it was over he turned to us and said, "I don't know much about US politics, but that guy is gonna win." I hoped he was right. And as it turns out, what he heard that night, the country heard too. And that's why we are where we are today.

If you've never heard it,or, even if you have, make sure you see it again.
(Watch/Read it here.)

What was just starting then, they'll be teaching our children about as long as children are taught in this country. What a moment...

An Excerpt:

You know, they said this day would never come.

They said our sights were set too high.

They said this country was too divided; too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose.

But on this January night - at this defining moment in history - you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do. You have done what the state of New Hampshire can do in five days. You have done what America can do in this New Year, 2008. In lines that stretched around schools and churches; in small towns and big cities; you came together as Democrats, Republicans and Independents to stand up and say that we are one nation; we are one people; and our time for change has come.

You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that's consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that's been all about division and instead make it about addition - to build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States. Because that's how we'll win in November, and that's how we'll finally meet the challenges that we face as a nation.

We are choosing hope over fear. We're choosing unity over division, and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America.

Its hard to overstate how monumental this moment is, not just in US history; but in world history. Its not that the guy is black and he won. Its that being black didn't stop him from winning. We, as a nation, looked at the candidates and selected who we thought was best. That's incredible. I believe US politics will look back at this year as a benchmark for all time. You're going to see everyone running for offices big and small. The floodgates will crash open. Minorities and those with disabilities and those otherwise doubtful about their chances will say " A guy named Barack was elected President. Why not me?" And that is great news for us all. Imagine the talent we'll see coming from all corners of the nation. It will be amazing.

Barack will write the story over the next 4 (to 8) years and he'll both succeed and fail quite a bit. But we as a country already owe him a debt of gratitude that we can express now: He has shown us what can be if we want it to be.

And whether you voted for him or not, you can say 'amen' to that.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I remember that night at the Waffle House. The hope that speech created got me more interested in the up coming election.
Busch gone in January 2009 was a given but I did not think that much would be different. After that speech I began following the campaign and wondering just maybe... things could be different.