On the eve of the one of the most historic elections in the history of the United States, I find myself thinking about Barack Obama: the man who hopefully will be our next President.
I remember his 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic Convention and being moved by it's power and the America he described. At that time, the unity the country had felt after the abject horror had worn off and 9/11 had become a wedge issue for Bush. I was angry and ashamed at what our country was becoming. I was angry that the foundation of our country, the Constitution, was being systematically chipped away at by a group of people in power, solely to grab more power so that they could push their radical agenda. I was worried that we on the precipice of becoming a world joke. A once proud country, that would sell everything it stood for, to further, what even at that point was a failed and discounted foreign policy. And just as bad further a domestic agenda that enriched the powerful at the expense of the working folk.
Little did I know at that point that things would get worse with, Abu Ghraib. Torturing "terrorists" at will and without regard for any law foreign or domestic. Wiretapping American citizens, just because. Huge paydays and no bid contracts for friends of the administration. Jingoism run amok. Hiring Mercenaries to terrorize citizens of the country we are occuping because, they'd run our military into the ground. Citizens encouraged by the administration and it's allies to banter the word traitor around to any one that disagrees with the word of the White House. I still to this day think there is a non insignificant portion of America whose knowledge of the Constitution is limited to the phrase "aid and comfort" of the enemy. People who praised the military one day and shit all over a soldier who supported a Democrat the next, because they did not support the people in charge
So here we are four years later. Obama is on the verge of becoming our next president. A man that is the antithesis of the past eight years: Thoughtful, confident, open, intelligent, inspirational.
When I look back at the history that I know, we Americans have been lucky. It seems when America is faltering, when the great experiment of Democracy seems to be on the edge of falling, a leader emerges. And we, the American people, are smart enough to elect him. Lincoln, FDR, JFK, each a man for their time. Each a man for their challenges.
Obama, is the man for our time, for our challenges.
I listen to his speeches and think...that is what America should be. That is the America I want to live in. He inspires me. He makes me want to give back, to get involved. He makes me want to make my community, my country and my world a better place. He is the promise that was laid out by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. He inspires me to live up to the promise of this Country and reminds me, that however far we've slipped in the last eight years, we can be the guiding light for the world again. He reminds me that it's not his task alone, but ours, as a country, to lead again.
Obama removes the shame, anger and fear that this country has succumbed to in the last eight years. Moreover he's a new beginning without the ties and baggage of the culture wars of the sixties.
He's a politician.
I know that.
He talks of actually being a uniter and I actually believe him. That means, I'm not going to always agree with him. However when I gripe, bitch, yell and complain, I know that he's not going to encourage his administration to call me a traitor. To tell me: America! Love it or Leave it.
While, I will not agree with him all of the time, I believe in his vision of America.
I also believe that he is the right man, right now to move this country back to where we should be, the light on the hill that guides the world.
Yes, we can.