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Election thoughts

First, a few choice quotes from around the Web:

Ezra Klein:

Barack Hussein Obama was, arguably, the country’s most unlikely candidate for highest office. He embodied, or at least invoked, much of what America feared. His color recalled our racist past. His name was a reminder of our anxious present. His spiritual mentor displayed a streak of radical Afro-nationalism. He knew domestic terrorists and had lived in predominantly Muslim countries. There was hardly a specter lurking in the American subconscious that he did not call forth.And that was his great strength. He robbed fear of its ability to work through quiet insinuation. He forced America to confront its own subconscious. Obama actually is black. His middle name actually is “Hussein.” He actually does know William Ayers. He actually was married by Jeremiah Wright. He actually had lived in Indonesia. These were not smears, though they were often used as such. They were facts. And this election was fundamentally about what happened when fear collided with fact.

Matthew Yglesias:

People want Obama to implement his agenda, and his agenda is a progressive one — cutting carbon emissions, expanding access to health insurance and early childhood education, making the tax code more progressive, and spreading the wealth around building broad-based prosperity.

The Onion:

Carrying a majority of the popular vote, Obama did especially well among women and young voters, who polls showed were particularly sensitive to the current climate of everything being fucked. Another contributing factor to Obama’s victory, political experts said, may have been the growing number of Americans who, faced with the complete collapse of their country, were at last able to abandon their preconceptions and cast their vote for a progressive African-American.

Citizens with eyes, ears, and the ability to wake up and realize what truly matters in the end are also believed to have played a crucial role in Tuesday’s election.

Also via The Onion, this headline: Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job

FiveThirtyEight’s projection looks startlingly spot-on: 349 for Obama.  The AP has Obama at 349 without having confirmed North Carolina, Missouri, or Georgia.  That’s some good projecting right there!

My friend Steve wrote this:

It’s not just because the person I wanted to win did. Of course I’m happy about that.

But I’m elated because of how proud I am. Just 40 years after blacks were literally dying for the right to vote, my country has elected a black man president. This doesn’t erase our racial sins of the past, nor does it eliminate the racism that still exists today, but it says something truly remarkable about our country. Indeed, this is the one place where literally anyone can become anything, including president.

That’s something for us to be proud of as a country. And that’s why I’m more than simply happy about what’s happened tonight.

For my part, over the course of the primaries and the campaign, I’ve found myself becoming more and more fired up, interested, and even involved in progressive policies and politics.  I’ve joined and taken the leadership role of my town’s energy committee.  I’m blogging about policy (a bit).  I think about all this more than the headline-skim way I got by with for years.  I followed the primaries closely, read endless policy statements, considered what I liked and what I wanted and what I believed in.  I went to see candidates in action.  I gave money to a campaign for the first time in my life.  Yesterday, I volunteered for a campaign for only the second time in my life.

My first Presidential vote was for Clinton in 1992 — it was somewhat, no, completely unreflective.  I just didn’t like Bush, and was generically left in my sympathies.  I had virtually no deep political beliefs that I’d be willing to stand behind other than vague senses of social justice and fairness.  In ‘96, I was repulsed by the growing shrillness of the Republican/talk radio world, and felt generally fine with Clinton.  After 2000, and the mess that followed, I felt a shift to W would be cruddy, but not awful … that was wrong, so wrong, even had 9/11 not happened.  And in that aftermath, and the leadup to Iraq, where I strenuously argued the idiocy of an Iraq war to anyone who would listen, I drifted away from reading about politics, because it was all so depressing.

Kerry in ‘04 had me hopeful in the primaries, but despondent in the general.  And I still couldn’t bring myself to delve into the issues.  But now, I feel engaged and confident.  And I think that a progressive agenda is a real, doable thing, although there is much work to do going forward.

And I think that a man named Barack Hussein Obama leading our country with intelligence, deliberation, and a clear belief in progressive ideals is the best thing for America, and for the world, that could happen right now.  I’m proud to have voted for him, proud to have worked (even just my one day) for him, and proud of my country right now, and going forward.

One Response to “Election thoughts”

  1. 1
    Jen:

    Like you, this was the first time I ever donated money to a campaign. Also, this is the first time I ever donated my *time* to a campaign.

    Random thoughts:
    - Having donated my *time*, I feel like I “own” a piece of this victory. At the same time, I feel like this victory is owned by everyone, whether an individual supported Obama or not.
    - Watching/reading newscasts, I’ve heard/read “black Americans can truly aspire to be president some day”. At first I agreed, but then I realized that there was never a moment in my life when I didn’t think black Americans could be president. It gets me to thinking if my POV is a result of my age, my education, or something else. I have a difficult time comprehending how anyone can think any different.
    - Also on the subject of race, I remember when Hillary was vying for the Dem nod and Obama critics had said, “Well, he’s not really black.” Today, post-election, I haven’t heard this statement uttered at all. (I loved Obama’s retort to the claim that he wasn’t really black. He said something to the effect of he’s “black enough when trying to hail a cab in NYC.” :-D

    Arghghgh… I have more, but my internet access is going to crap out soon. Argh. Anyway, just a few thoughts to throw into the mix. :-)

    And finally, I’m glad I don’t have to pretend I’m a Canadian anymore when I’m travelling internationally. ;-)

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