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I am overcome with sadness at the news of Barack Obama’s grandmother’s passing, just one day before he is likely to become the 44th President of the United States, the first African American to hold the office.  

Many of you might be like me.  You are asking, why did this have to happen now?  Why not in two days or next week?  I am not going to dwell on what Toot missed.  Instead, consider what Toot came to see before she died.  

Barack Obama is a winner not because of how he will cross the finish line tomorrow, but because of his courage to make this journey in the first place, and by the integrity with which he has run his amazing race.  

He has changed us.  Those of us still weakened and pessimistic from eight years of the Bush-Cheney regime have become strong, active messengers of hope.  We have spoken with our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, our Republican and independent relatives, and actually engaged with them for the first time in years, when for a long time we could not bring ourselves even to have a conversation with people we know who had voted for Bush (sometimes even twice).  

He turned the whitest of the white states, Iowa, into the launching pad for his triumphant primary campaign against Hillary Clinton, who was backed by the biggest Democratic political machine since the Kennedy era.  He got people to vote for him who had not voted for any Democrat in decades.  He even got racist voters to vote for him despite their racism.  This isn’t because Clinton or McCain was awful.  It happened because of who Barack Obama is, and what he represents.  

For the first time in a generation, we have someone to vote for.  Thank God for Barack Obama.  And thank God for Toot, without whom we never would have been blessed with the man who will be our century's greatest president.

Originally posted to Donkey Underpants on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 02:11 PM PST.

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