It seems a bit unnecessary to blog about how I feel about Barack Obama getting elected. The momentous nature of this election is glaringly obvious and is surely amplifying the particular sense of elation or disappointment that we each feel. Thus, while my feelings may be individually unique, they are by no means extraordinary. Nonetheless …
The one overwhelming emotion I have is one of pride. I am unspeakably proud to have helped elect our nation’s first African-American president. All the more so because my vote, like so many others, was not cast because of his race or in spite of it, but with no regard given to it at all. Obama’s presidential legacy is not yet started, but his ability to ascend to the most powerful office in world, based solely on his character, charisma, and qualifications, has already broken a barrier that has existed for over two centuries. Americans have lived with the implicit hypocrisy in our “all men created equal” credo as a course and gritty thread running through the fabric of our society for too long. Now, perhaps, it can finally start to be unraveled. Long after we bring our wars to a close, stabilize our economy, and repair the damage done to our foreign relations, the reverberations of this moment, this choice, will continue to be felt.
This election also leaves me, against my better judgement, foolishly hopeful. In the 20+ years I’ve been eligible to vote, I have never before really believed that we had elected the right person for the job. This time it’s different. My only regret is that Obama will be stepping into a situation where the most that can be hoped for is to undo the damage done by the previous administration. It is sobering to think of what could have been had Obama been elected eight years ago, and a sad testament to George W. Bush’s presidency that his most important legacy will be the distrust and disappointment he instilled that led Americans to finally make a bold and courageous choice for their next leader.
Which leads me to the last emotion – uncertainty. Hope and optimism are essential ingredients for greatness. But they are are equally necessary for crushing disappointment. Will Obama live up to the hype and expectations? Or will he will bog down due to lack of inexperience and inability to follow through on the promise shown in his election campaign? Only time will tell. I certainly hope he excels. Our country needs it more desperately than any of us is truly aware. For now however, I am content to enjoy this first, bold, step in the right direction.