looking forward to tomorrow

I don’t have the words to adequately express my feelings right now. I am proud of my country, and, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I am actually hopeful about our future. I just watched Obama’s acceptance speech, and I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to have a President talking about our situation solemnly, and mentioning things like “sacrifice” and “service.” I know it’s an odd thing to get excited about — hearing your President tell you that you’re going to have to sacrifice and pitch in — but it feels good to step out of the fantasy world we’ve been living in. It feels good, for once in my life, to be led by an adult. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I feel as though now we at least have a fighting chance. And it’s incredibly heartening to realize, for the first time in years, that a majority of us are in agreement on that.

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31 Comments

  1. Monica
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    Thank you Mark & others for having the hope to sit through returns & help make this win happen in very real and recognizable ways. I appreciate you! I feel so relieved today. I went to bed without looking once at the numbers. Thanks & hooray!

  2. Posted November 5, 2008 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    I cried.

    I want to say that bigoted, angry,white American has officially been marginalized but I’d rather say that I’ve never seen such a positive campaign in my life. I’ve never seen this many people behind a candidate.

    Awesome.

  3. K
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Did anyone not tear up who saw John Lewis after they called the race for Obama? Holy cow. I was doing the weird sob-cry after that.

  4. Posted November 5, 2008 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    This is really the greatest thing that has happened to this country in my lifetime. I have finally been able to see true democracy at work, not just democracy for people who vote. At first, I was not behind Obama’s candidacy and wasnt’ sure who I would be voting for in this election. But over the past few months and weeks, I have come to see his campaign as a complete affirmation of what it is to be an American, that America is not just a country for white people with property, but a country that is there to provide opportunities to all people who reside within its borders. I was so moved when Obama gave mention to the great plurality of America, and that opportunities exist for all.

    America truly has changed. In nearly 40 years of my lifetime, I never would have ever expected America to finally publicly acknowledge that America I know: a proud, pluralistic nation that seeks to stive for a more perfect union, establish justice and insure domestic tranquility.

    I’m crying again. This is a truly amazing moment.

  5. Posted November 5, 2008 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Incredible! I am with you, mark, 100% that the things I heard in Obama’s acceptance speech just excited me to the depths of my soul — even though some of them were about sacrifice. It’s the reality we face and Obama is FACING it! We 50-year-olds are also still reeling with shock and joy at the overwhelming results–we have elected a beautiful biracial man. It’s a fact, Obama is our man! I am just gibbering now, so I will stop. YES WE CAN, YES WE DID, YES, WE WILL!!!!

  6. jean
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I just pulled the flag out of the back of my closet and hung it out front for the first time in ages. It has been retired since we went into Iraq this go around. I will admit that I had lost all faith that we could be the kind of country we should be, the kind of country we were meant to be.

    I thought both Obama’s speech and McCain’s cast the appropriate tone. McCain seemed almost relieved to be released from the divisiveness his campaign had leaned on. I’d like to see the old McCain come back. I’d like to see us welcome him back. There is no time for gloating. It is time to reach for the best parts of ourselves and pitch in.

    “And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.”

  7. Jill
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Jean, you mention pitching in. How do we go about that? What do we do now? When Clinton was elected I was working as a VISTA volunteer (sort of a domestic Peace Corps) at a shelter for battered women and I stuck around an extra year when Clinton folded VISTA into AmeriCorps. I felt then that I was pitching in but I was fresh out of college, young, no debt, no responsibilities. What do I do now as an almost forty year old with responsibilities? What are y’all going to be doing to pitch in?

  8. Jim
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I hope that in the coming year Obama will mobilize his volunteer and donor network to work for passage of his major legislative initiatives. If Obama’s supporters work together to demand change from our Senators and Representatives, we will see major progress on energy and health care in 2009.

    I also want to give a big shout out to the voters of Michigan! Michigan voters gave Obama a 16 point margin of victory, we elected two Democrats to Congress, turning our delegation from 9-6 Republican to 8-7 Democratic, we resoundingly defeated an incumbent Chief Justice, and we saw through a dishonest ad campaign to pass Prop 2.

  9. Brackache
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Congrats on your victory guys.

    Any news on the local front?

  10. Posted November 5, 2008 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Tip of the keyboard to Tip ONeill — I think that all politics are local. Thus getting involved with your local community is key. There’s so much to be done in Ypsilanti, for example: join a committee for the Main Street Community initiative and help envision paths to the future for our city. Join a Board of Directors. Give Local. Plant a garden and help re-localize our food system. Join the Library. Plan on buying a CSA farm share next summer and to get know your farmer. Join the Food Co-op. Attend a design charrette and share your opinions. There’s so much to do!!!

  11. Old Goat
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Next morning, we awake with a powerful headache, not unlike coming home from vacation to that pile of bills. Must now roll up sleeves, prepare for the tasks-at-hand, ready up for a long winter, and look forward to the not so distant spring.

  12. Jim
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your gracious comment, Brackache.

    Washtenaw County results are here:
    http://electionresults.ewashtenaw.org/nov2008/cumulativereport.html
    Easthope beat Gutenberg 52%-47% for 15th District judge. What other local races were folks watching?

  13. Murf
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m just happy that there is a President that can pronounce those words. I’m a bit more reserved in my enthusiasm. I’ve seen this same gung ho-ness when Nancy Pelosi and crowd took control and nothing much came of it.

  14. Brackache
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Sweet, proposal 1 passed overwhelmingly. I got somethin’!

  15. Posted November 5, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    We still have yet to hear from DR. He was so convinced that McSame was going to win.

  16. Robert
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, dude, he’s probobly doing 190 hours of community service because he lost that bet with his brother.

  17. Posted November 5, 2008 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day.

  18. Jean
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Hey Murph… I don’t know what kind of leadership Obama will provide. My gut (and my instincts are pretty good) is that he’ll do a decent job if congress allows him to. And for the record I’m as concerned about Pelosi et al as the Republicans. I worry they may try to push the kind of change… for better or not… that the country isn’y ready for. I hope they follow his lead instead of forcing him to respond to their initiatives. So I was grateful about Pelosi and the dems when they took the Senate as antidote to Bush, but it was nothing like this moment. As a country we took a leap of faith forward past a lot of fear and resentment. His election alone starts us off in a much, much better direction. We just need to seize the momentum.

    And Jill— I am over 40 with limited means, kids and responsibilities too. I somehow stay involved. A lot of times the kids tag along with me. Yesterday I had to work, so my 10 year old was down in Ohio canvassing with friends. I got to work, my child was well-occupied and a part of this historic election. How cool is that. Look to your community. There is plenty of need and lots of stuff happening out there. No reason the kids can’t lend a hand.

  19. Brackache
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    The fear is certainly valid, but I wouldn’t worry too much if I were youz. Really the only potential Republican obstruction at this point is a Senate filibuster. Maybe a conservative Supreme Court decision or two. Other than that, y’all’s guys own everything, and all that that entails. Think of all the fun you can do with all the unconstitutional power Bush and previous Congresses made possible! The possibilities of transforming America by legislation (and police state force to back up the legislation) are limitless… except maybe by pesky economic disasters.

  20. Posted November 5, 2008 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    And the first thing that should be done is to correct exactly that bullshit Bush and friends rammed, snuck, and lied us all into. Thank you Brackache for pointing out where we should begin.

  21. Brackache
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I’ll eat a tablespoon full of bacon grease for every unconstitutional law repealed. No shit.

  22. Posted November 5, 2008 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Brackache,

    I’m pretty ecstatic by the outcome of last night’s election. I know you didn’t have a dog in that fight, really, but I’m strong with you on some things.

    I’m not going to pledge to eat bacon grease (unless it’s, you know, clinging to some nice hot bacon), but I’ll be cheering the repeal of those same laws. Warrantless wiretapping, suspension of habeas corpus – shit, the entire Patriot Act and reams of other recent legislation need to be ceremoniously burned.

    I think the end of Bush’s reign, and the resounding defeat of the party that backed him and his constitution-shredding, can be considered a victory from your point of view. (Now we just have to hope that the party who cowered and kowtowed before Bush the last 8 years grows enough spine to actually right some things.)

  23. Robert
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m holding you to that, Brackache. We’ll do it at the Corner Brewery.

    I think it’s worth it to repeal as many unconstitutional laws as fast as possible just for the purpose of getting Brackache sick on bacon grease.

  24. Brackache
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Deal. Heaping tablespoons.

  25. Denise Cutlip
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    I heard something else last night. There was a kind of cracking and tinkling sound. It was there on the edge of my conscious, and this morning I realized exactly what it was.

    It was the sound of one of those glass ceilings breaking and falling into a deep abyss. I think that the reason it took me so long to recognize it for what it was is the fact that it had so far to fall and the sound of the cheers and sobs of pure joy masked that sound.

    When I was 2, two men were acquitted of lynching a black teenager for whistling at a white woman. Later they bragged about their heinous act in an interview in one of the most important and well read magazines of that time. That same year the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education that separate educational facilities were inherently unequal.

    In my lifetime, I have witnessed riots over the integration of schools, political activists – white and black- murdered for standing up for basic human rights, the enactment of the the Civil Rights of of 1964, the repeal of poll taxes and literacy tests by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At the age of 5, I remember my parents turning me away from the tv set so that I did not see the treatment 9 students in Little Rock were subjected to, simply because they were trying to attend school.

    These are some of the memories were at the forefront of my mind last night as I sat at the Ypsilanti/Obama Campaign Headquarters last night. When, at the stroke of 11, the polls closed on the west coast and Obama was named as the 44th President of the United States, there was a split second when those present held their breaths and re-read the caption to make sure that they truly read it right. Then the cheers and tears flowed freely. Black/white, male/female there was a tremendous sense of fulfillment, joy and empowerment.

    The America I awoke to yesterday was changed forever – and for the better before I went to sleep. I have never been more proud to be an American.

    (My facial muscles may ache for days. I find myself breaking into big smiles and singing at odd moments.)

  26. Bob
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I hate to start being disapointed in Obama less than 24 hours after his election, but what the fuck? Rahm Emanuel and John Kerry are likely to be his first staff picks. Wow.

  27. Robert
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Rahm Emanuel and John Kerry are excellent choices. Who were you hoping for, Bob?

  28. Posted November 5, 2008 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    We’re all happy today, but keep at it. Work hard and take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

  29. designated republican
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Congratulations to President-elect Obama, and to the rest of the Democrats who rode the “vote the party” wave to victory on Tuesday. I worked at the polls in ward 1 on election day, and it was a remarkable experience to watch so many people (young and old) cast their first ballot. The City of Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County should be commended for running a very smooth and error-free election – many of the poll workers in the precinct were also “first-timers” but they knew what they were doing and didn’t get phased by the long line waiting when the polls opened.

    ps. I paid up on my bet. I’ll get it back in 2012.

  30. Robert
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    You were wise to dodge my challenges, designated republican. You’d be putting in over a month of full-time community service right now.

  31. Posted November 6, 2008 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    DR, I’m glad you’re my neighbor.

    You know what got to me on the 4th? It was before everything had been decided and NPR was playing a speech of Obama talking about his grandmother who has just passed, and how she was one of the quiet heros of this country. How you didn’t read about her in the papers, how she wasn’t famous, but she was a hero, a leader.

    History is repeating itself, and this generation can be the next Greatest Generation like our parents or grandparents. We are new quiet heros. We all have the potential to do great things in our own way.

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