As the returns started to roll in last night, and after the polls closed here in Maryland, as we waited in our local war room for returns on MD-01, we opened a bottle of Havana Club and took a sip in honor of a long day.
At one point, when Pennsylvania, then Ohio, went for Obama, our local party chair raised his glass and said,
"Somewhere, Paul Wellstone is smiling right now."
Indeed. The orginial community organizer/politician, who showed us the way of people powered politics, would have enjoyed the night immensely, I believe. We toasted him, and thanked him, and it got me to thinking about all the thank yous that are in order this morning...
In addition to Paul...
Thank you Howard Dean. Our Chairman showed us the way, undeterred by the naysayers.
Thank you Shirley Chisholm. The original -- and first -- major African American candidate for President, you took the first steps to this day.
Thank you Jesse Jackson. The first African American candidate in our party to win substantial delegates, you blazed the trail for Barack Obama to follow.
Thank you Dick Durbin. When you convinced your colleague from Chicago that now was his time, you did a great thing.
Thank youIowa. Honestly, without Iowa, we wouldn't have gotten here. It convinced me, and millions of others, in the power of the possible.
Thank you Hillary Clinton. You demonstrated tremendous grace and deference in Denver and helped to bring our party together.
Thank you Joe Biden. For agreeing to be Barack's Vice-President, you have demonstrated and lived a sense of service that very, very few can ever truly emulate.
Thank you Indiana and Virginia. Even more surprising to many of us than the election of the nation's first black President, is the fact that your states actually voted for a Democrat for President. Never did I think I'd see the day.
Thank you to Obama's family. From the Dunhams that raised him, to Michelle and Sasha and Malia who have shared him, Barack and the nation knows that we wouldn't be here without you.
Thank you to Obama's campaign staff. Your singular drive, strategy, and effort will be studied for years to come.
Thank you to the millions -- of dollars, phone calls, knocked doors -- from the millions of people that believed in a better America.
And thank you to the netroots: as a place of refuge from the dark Bush days to helping the transformation of our politics, we can truly see better days ahead.
Thank you to all. Understand that this is much bigger than Obama, as he has said time and again. It shows in little ways, like my brother, who, inspired by Obama, ran for office for the first time. Even though it looks as though he narrowly lost, he wouldn't have been moved without hope.
Now is a time for action in the coming months, but for today, as joy and relief sweep over us...let's remember all the struggles before this day, and thank all those who have made it possible.