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In the wake of Barack Obama's election as president, there are a number of debates about what it means and where we go -- what does this victory say about race and racism in the US, what kind of mandate does it amount to, what kind of change will we see, what happens to the Obama voters and volunteers. In an extraordinary essay, Tim Wise speaks to a number of them. You should just read the whole thing. But for a taste, here's Wise on one of the ways Obama's win, despite not in any form or fashion signaling an end to racism, holds promise for forward movement on racism:

Tonight was also a victory for the possibility of greater cross-racial alliance building. Although Obama failed to win most white votes, and although it is no doubt true that many of the whites who did vote for him nonetheless hold to any number of negative and racist stereotypes about the larger black and brown communities of this nation, it it still the case that black, brown and white worked together in this effort as they have rarely done before. And many whites who worked for Obama, precisely because they got to see, and hear, and feel the racist vitriol still animating far too many of our nation's people, will now be wiser for the experience when it comes to understanding how much more work remains to be done on the racial justice front. Let us build on that newfound knowledge, and that newfound energy, and create real white allyship with community-based leaders of color as we move forward in the years to come.

Most of all, though, read the piece for its view of the way forward, of what we must do and must build:

First and foremost, please know that none of these victories will amount to much unless we do that which needs to be done so as to turn a singular event about one man, into a true social movement (which, despite what some claim, it is not yet and has never been).

And so it is back to work. Oh yes, we can savor the moment for a while, for a few days, perhaps a week. But well before inauguration day we will need to be back on the job, in the community, in the streets, where democracy is made, demanding equity and justice in places where it hasn't been seen in decades, if ever. Because for all the talk of hope and change, there is nothing--absolutely, positively nothing--about real change that is inevitable. And hope, absent real pressure and forward motion to actualize one's dreams, is sterile and even dangerous. Hope, absent commitment is the enemy of change, capable of translating to a giving away of one's agency, to a relinquishing of the need to do more than just show up every few years and push a button or pull a lever.

This means hooking up now with the grass roots organizations in the communities where we live, prioritizing their struggles, joining and serving with their constituents, following leaders grounded in the community who are accountable not to Barack Obama, but the people who helped elect him. Let Obama follow, while the people lead, in other words.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 08:50 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  next? Turn the bus of progress around (15+ / 0-)

    and go pick up the GBLT people who got run over on Tuesday.

  •  Obama said it would be hard to perfect our union (9+ / 0-)

    Prop 8 is a demonstration of how far we have to go, how much work we have to do, in order to perfect our union.

  •  As Obama says (11+ / 0-)

    This is not about him, it's about us.

    He can enable, we have to work.

    We do not forgive our candidates their humanity, therefore we compel them to appear inhuman

    by twigg on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 08:53:29 AM PST

  •  The best thing we can do (8+ / 0-)

    Is continue our involvement in civics and government and help him be the President we deserve.  It helps the struggle not if he fails.

  •  There's so much work to do locally (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, Taya Lawrence

    That I don't think there should be any problem finding things to do. State and local governments need to be held more responsible. For instance, I know we have a government in South Carolina, it has to be somewhere ... Oh, no, the general assembly meets maybe six weeks a year, passes nothing, and goes home. The governor sits in his office, maybe writes a few public service announcements, then goes somewhere outside the state to talk about how well everything's going in SC.

    State and local needs accountability. And the SCDP, for instance, needs an intensive self-introspection to find out its purpose in life.

    Obamans can help with that.

    "Half of the American people never read a newspaper. Half never vote for President. One hopes it is the same half." - Gore Vidal

    by sapper on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 08:54:45 AM PST

    •  Yes as there are blue states that need to become (0+ / 0-)

      bluer and states like Missouri and Montana that just about turned blue..where inroads were made and we can continue to work on those areas.

      In PA, we made a lot of progress in the T...( still trying to figure out and celebrate the success in now blue rural Elk County ) and work on getting more of those counties blue.

  •  some of the racists are making their point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sapper, kathleen518

    I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain

    by route66 on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 08:57:03 AM PST

  •  Keep orgs like Democracy for America going (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, mos1133, Floande

    Since 2004 members have been making small contributions to support Howard Dean's 50-state strategy.
    In case you want to thank Howard Dean, click here!

    The IPCC predicts average global temperatures to rise enough by 2050 to put 20-30% of all species at risk for extinction.

    by Plan9 on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 08:58:13 AM PST

  •  Well said! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Miss Laura, there is a diary that is scrolling down that is important and worthy of being moved to the front page:

    The Incomparable Conversation  
    by LithiumCola

    Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 08:58:17 AM PST

  •  The Church (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Hope, absent commitment is the enemy of change, capable of translating to a giving away of one's agency

    This,in a nutshell, is precisely why a man like Reverend Wright exists and why Priests are killed in central America.  

  •  Nothing will eliminate racism totally (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, rilkas

    and I have to sadly admit that it's possible that the time when a non-white presidential candidate gets a majority of the white vote may still be decades off.

    That said, I can't think of one single thing that will do a better job of erasing racism than four years of a black president.

    Fired up! Ready to go!

    by RickMassimo on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:00:57 AM PST

    •  I think that racism is inherent to human nature. (0+ / 0-)

      There might even be an evolutionary need for it. Only education and more cultural contact among the races('races'? Ugh!) will bring it down to an acceptable level, not that I know what that it.

      After this election NOBODY will ever say Reagan Democrat again...Instead everyone will talk of Obama Repubs!

      by deutschluz on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:23:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        What is basic to human nature is to categorize people in groups, probably; in-group and out-group categorization occurs everywhere and probably has evolutionary advantages.

        But which groups and which categories are determined by the culture in which you live.

        The idea that there are "races" is taught. Race is an artificial category, maintained by a particular view of the world. In the absence of teachings about "race" there would be no racism.

        Sure, prejudice will never die. But we now as a society have enough perspective on the world to have choices about what kinds of prejudice are maintained and which are defeated.

        Virtues are lost in self-interest just as rivers are lost in the sea. -- François de la Rochefoucauld

        by rilkas on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:35:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  True but I am pleased that he was able to get (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      44 pct of the white vote. As most Republicans are white..that also is the issue.

      As I did watch Lynn Swann, a Republican, get votes from a ton of white people in PA because there was a R next to his name. I live in a county where people vote Sraighht R ticket no matter who it is.

      •  Then of course there's the privileging (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        of the white vote, in which Obama's inability to win the white male vote is a major problem while the Republicans' ability to manage 10% of the black vote in like 40 years is just a sign of message discipline.

        Fired up! Ready to go!

        by RickMassimo on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:39:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Factoid of note (2+ / 0-)

    For the first time in American history, the period of 1913-2012 will have had presidents from the Democratic party for the majority of that century - 52 years to 48 years.

    Since sometime early in the 20th century, every hundred year period combination possible has seen Republicans holding the presidency a majority of the time. The Republicans totally dominated from 1860 - 1912 (11 of 13 presidencies), and recently have had 7 of the last 10.

  •  Economy Trumps Race (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here's a great article about Obama/Biden winning 98.9% white Elk County, PA by 51%-46%:

    Despite all the questions about Obama having trouble with white voters in PA, he not only won out Commonwealth by 600,000 votes, but carried at least one VERY surprising county.

    I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. - Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC

    by Marinesquire on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:02:45 AM PST

  •  As a middle-aged white guy, I can't pretend to (4+ / 0-)

    understand what this means to people of color. What I do know is that after seeing the tears of joy on Jesse Jackson's and many other AAs faces on Tuesday night, this was a historic moment. Having Obama in office making decisions that will take this country in the right direction is a perfect first step in eliminating some of the racist attitudes that have been on display throughout this election.

  •  What About Missouri-President? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ivan, CityLightsLover
    As I write this comment, Missouri's presidential election remains undecided, with 1,442,673counted for WcCain, and 1,436,814 counted for Obama; 49:49% (and 37,305/1% Other). The state's 11 Electoral Votes won't change the result. A few thousand people one way or another won't indicate much difference in popular vote among 137M+ nationwide. But what is the result? And how come I see no reporting or discussion of this final straggler?

    Personally, I'd like to see WcCain counted the winner. Because Missouri's electoral vote doesn't make much difference, nor the few thousand in the popular vote. Obama's safely won. More important than those negligible margins is destroying Missouri's undue influence as "always voting for the winner". Once Missouri's vote is counted for the loser, that state will lose its extra influence, another lie about "the heartland" proven wrong by Obama. Then we can have elections less coordinated by factoids the pundits can easily remember, and more evaluations of who will lead us better.

    So enough already: who did Missouri vote for several days ago?

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:06:25 AM PST

    •  Yes CNN Has Missouri as Red but other networks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      still have it blank ? What was the final result of Missouri as it differs depending on where you look.

      I am happy NC was finally decided and went blue. We can work on getting NC bluer and on MO and hell MT was closer than many thought. The only state that ended up not being as close as pollsters thought it might be was ND. It turned out MT was closer.

      •  MO SoS Shows WcCain With More (0+ / 0-)

        The Missouri Secretary of State "Election Night Reporting" all races page says:

        U.S. President And Vice President	   Precincts Reporting 3533 of 3533
         John McCain, Sarah Palin	REP 1,442,673	 49.4%	
         Barack Obama, Joe Biden	DEM 1,436,814	 49.2%	
         Bob Barr, Wayne A. Root	LIB 11,355	 .4%	
         Chuck Baldwin, Darrell Castle	CST 8,181	 .3%	
         Ralph Nader, Matt Gonzalez	IND 17,769	 .6%	
         Cynthia McKinney, Rosa Clemente WI 958 	 .0%	
        Total Votes	2,917,750

        But the top of that page says

        Unofficial Election Returns
        State of Missouri General Election  - 2008 General Election
        Tuesday, November 04, 2008

        What troubles me the most is that there's no reporting of this story. How can the #1 "bellwether state" fail to report an official count, with a 49:49% split by 6000 votes, not get any coverage all week while it remains the only state not reporting?

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:47:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What does it mean for Kos and blogging? I mean (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine, Taya Lawrence

    I don't feel ANGRY anymore.  I don't feel the need to vent.  I'm not yelling.  I wonder of viewership and bloggership will decrease, I would be it would.  But in any case - we here on the Tubes did an incredible job!

    There is a word for those who try to suppress the vote: TRAITORS.

    by hcc in VA on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:06:42 AM PST

  •  Prop 8 isn't forever (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Remember, it's the Knight Initiative reborn -- and whereas it passed by a huge 24-point margin in 2000, it passed by only four points this year.  If the No on 8 folks had been better organized (and if more had been done to get folks in pro-gay areas to vote -- SF had a 50% turnout last I looked, much less than in other parts of the state), it probably would have failed.

    Don't give up -- keep fighting, and keep working to shine a big bright spotlight on the role of the Mormons in backing antigay bigotry.

    John McCain will end Roe v. Wade if he's president.

    by Phoenix Woman on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:08:36 AM PST

  •  How to fight racism and sexism? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, Floande

    Keep fighting, don't give in.

    The day will come when we are excepted for what we can do.

    Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others. ~Virginia Woolf

    by LaFeminista on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:09:20 AM PST

  •  Burned Crosses and racial epithets in PA (3+ / 0-)

    A friend who lives in Rural PA told there have been a few crosses burned in his county, the Obama signs on his lawn were set on fire, and people have driven by in the middle of the night and screamed "N****r Lover!" and similar. He's an Obama supporter but also an rural-style all-American (guns included), and he's taking some comfort right now in being armed if necessary, to protect his family.

  •  The right wing is very afraid. Of course, I (3+ / 0-)

    gathered this from statements from various politicians, but it hit me hard yesterday.  I had lunch with two friends who voted for McCain.  As we were eating, one of them said that she was going to get a permit to carry a weapon.  The other agreed that she had been thinking the same thing.  They agreed thaty they would go take the training together.  It was one of the most bizarre moments that I have experienced in a good while.  Is this what we are going to see? Surely not.  At least I pray not.

    •  My wife was in Houston last night (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, Floande

      at the George Bush airport, on her way to a conference in California.  

      Anyway, she had a layover in Houston and she overheard so many rude and obnoxious comments from random fellow passengers that she didn't feel comfortable.

      Openly racist comments, too.  Anger, fear.  "This Obama shit is so stupid!" one person exclaimed.  Nobody cared who was within earshot, either.

      I thought I read that the Houston area was tilted a bit towards blue as compared with certain other areas of Texas, so perhaps these were likely travelers from other parts of the state?

      On the other hand, it must be said that I've heard similar remarks here in Maine, so there ya go.

      An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. - B. Franklin

      by MaineMike on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:41:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why the need for a gun, did they disclose why (0+ / 0-)

      they felt scared? Are they afraid that crime will run rampant now or is it more of this nonsense, racist fear of the black man?

      I hope your friends are not racist but this is a statement we hear from racists.  Yikes !

      •  I thought it was a racist statement as well. (0+ / 0-)

        I was so shocked that I didn't pursue it with them too much.  Both said they had to either live in or travel through neighborhoods that weren't too safe (but this has been the case for a long time and didn't account for the sudden change in attitude).  This is Dallas and I think some folks are very angry about the outcome of the race.

        •  Yes it sounds very racist (0+ / 0-)

          Let us know if they disclose more. As sadly, I have found over the years that I have to end some friendships when I discovered some people I thought were friends, were closet racists. When I discovered that, that alone, caused me to lose respect for them and I decided I just had no time for those people in my life. Life is too short.

  •  The Next Generation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, Floande, Taya Lawrence

    Three weeks ago, our 14 yearold Grandson came to live with us.  He comes from a small town (almost comletely white) in Northern Washington, and his Father and Stepmother are (to my dismay) quite conservative.  I'm talking James Dobson conservative.

    A couple nights ago Cory had a phone conversation with his Dad.  His Dad asked if he had made any new friends.  Cory said he had, and talked about some of them.  Then, in a momenent of self-realization, Cory told his Dad, "most of my friends are Mexican."  Dad handled it pretty well, but it was certainly a teaching moment for me.  Children learn their prejudices early.  But they also can learn that people are people, and differences are simply a fact of life, not something to obsess over.  

    We are making progress.  I know it is not fast enough for many of us, we long to live in a tolerant society now, not two or three generations from now.  But we are moving in that direction.  I may not see it in my lifetime, Cory may not see it in his lifetime, but it will happen.      

  •  Where next? (4+ / 0-)

    That is an excellent article. Meteor Blades used a similar section of it last night and this part really resonated with me as to where we should all be directing our energy from this point forward:

    This means hooking up now with the grass roots organizations in the communities where we live, prioritizing their struggles, joining and serving with their constituents, following leaders grounded in the community who are accountable not to Barack Obama, but the people who helped elect him. Let Obama follow, while the people lead, in other words.

    I wonder though where does that leave the blogs? Miss Laura? MB? Kos? Have you all, admins and community, thought about where this blog will go next, whether its goals will change now with a Democratic President and majorities?

    This seems like a really good time to address this to me. Will there still be a new software platform Dkos 4.0 to provide new infrastructure for the new atmosphere and larger community?

    I look forward to hearing back on these questions at some point. I think their discussion is very necessary.

    Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity; and fashion will drive them to acquire any custom. ~George Bernard Shaw

    by cosmic debris on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:12:37 AM PST

    •  double rec (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cosmic debris

      timing is important here

      Whatever you do, or dream, begin it now.. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. ~Goethe

      by Lady Libertine on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:27:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cosmic debris

      What the hell is this supposed to mean?

      I wonder though where does that leave the blogs? Miss Laura? MB? Kos? Have you all, admins and community, thought about where this blog will go next, whether its goals will change now with a Democratic President and majorities?

      Does the task of electing more and better Democrats somehow come to an end? Does the task of constantly strengthening and renewing the Democratic Party, from the precinct level up, somehow go away?

      Does the task of building communities, whether geographical, virtual, or by affinity, just go away?

      Does the task of making our activism relevant to our neighbors end?

      I believe the answer to all these questions is no.

      And I'm sorry if this pisses some people off, but too bad. I also believe that the Democratic Party local, county, and state organizations -- and NOT groups like DFA, MoveOn, Progressive Majority, etc., etc. -- are the best vehicle we have for effecting positive political, social, and economic change in this country. We, and not these other groups, put up the candidates.

      As long as that is the case, this blog isn't going anywhere, nor should it. Organized Democratic Parties, right down to the local level, and rank and file union organizing are still the keys to moving forward.

      This blog and others have been, and should remain, a huge help toward that end.

      "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

      by Ivan on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:53:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of course we're thinking about it, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cosmic debris

      and in fact, posts like this and like MB's diary are in part about opening the discussion, making sure none of us think for an instant our work is done. But answers are hard -- I think right now it's about asking the questions.

  •  On the white vote issue (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, Floande, Taya Lawrence

    I think if you take the south out of the picture, Obama ran roughly even with McCain in the remaining regions of the country among white voters.  In the states he won outside of the south, it would appear that he won a majority of the white vote.  He won every county in Connecticut and New Hampshire, for example.  He won WI, MN, MI by double digits. He won 61% of the vote in NY/CA.  I don't think that is possible without winning the white vote.

    The south is a holdout, as we all expected.  But even there, he did very well among independent and college educated whites to win in VA, NC and FL.  The real story of this election might be the fact that the racial and culturally polarized politics of the GOP is losing its grip among large segments of white voters.  

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:12:43 AM PST

  •  Georgia on my mind (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, wishingwell, Floande

    Shouldn't the state of Georgia, with its upcoming runoff election, be at the top of the to do next list? I'm certain Jim Martin could use the Kos bump, and it means one more Democratic vote (and one less neocon) in the Senate.

  •  Keep Volunteering! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MaineMike, Floande, Taya Lawrence

    So many people put in so much time phone banking, canvassing, registering voters during the election.  I want to urge folks to turn that energy into volunteering with your local non-profit agencies.  Yes, there are plenty of progressive issues that need work, but ini especially diffuclt financial times non-profit organizations need help more than ever from people, whether it be time, expertise or money.

    This is something Obama has stressed, helping in your community, whetehr it be mentoring an at-risk child, working at an animal shelter or food bank, supporting the arts, cleaning up a park, painting at a local woman's chelter or tens of thousands of things that you can do (and I know many of you already do that...THANKS!).

    Not sure what to do or where to start? Try VolunteerMatch.Org  This iste will allow you to search for volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood.  You can even try and find sepcific issues...environment, animal, education, health, arts and culture, etc.

    Remember WE are the change we are waiting for.

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin

    by Gangster Octopus on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:17:56 AM PST

  •  JUST ONE STORY (3+ / 0-)

    Networking action is the dominant outcome of this new era. Take my county - Burlington in New Jersey. We grew our Democratic registration by 70% this year (the Clinton-Obama primary helped immensely - the growth in Dem registration was just slightly larger than the decline in the number of independents).

    We increased our Presidential vote total over 2004 by 8% and won the County for Obama by 15%.

    But the big news was that we elected two County Freeholders (commissioners to some of you) and the County Clerk for the first time in 25 years. We also elected John Adler to the House replacing retiring GOP'er Jim Saxton and took that seat for the first time in 102 years!

    In my town of some 11,000, we now look forward to winning the majority on our town council. We have two seats and need one more. Our 2009 candidates will be Obama activists.

    Folks, this is a sea change we are witnessing in the governance of America.

    I actually look forwrtd to seeking assistance from Obama and Act Blue supporters in our LOCAL election, at least on the fundraising level.

  •  I like Tim Wise...the grassroots has many jobs (3+ / 0-)

    to do as evidenced by the gay marriage bans and many issues that will require a strong cohesive  voice and organization.There is so much yet to be done and we  have just begun.  

    The Truth is nonpartisan!

    by fedupcitizen on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:21:46 AM PST

  •  I love your diary (3+ / 0-)

    I've been reading Tim Wise for years, and I love seeing his growth and evolution as a writer and a thinker. He is fearless.

  •  Let Obama follow the people? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thats not how it works.

    Look at the economic team.

    Let the corporations lead whilst we pay for it.

    Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others. ~Virginia Woolf

    by LaFeminista on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:24:09 AM PST

  •  Some in the GOP Are Telegraphing Their Next Move. (4+ / 0-)

    They're going to try to keep bringing President Reagan back to life. And, "conservatism" wasn't really defeated the other day, don't cha' know?

    "...the struggle against corruption is one of the greatest struggles of our time." POTUS - Elect Barack Obama

    by CityLightsLover on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:24:33 AM PST

    •  So now they want to take up the 50 state (3+ / 0-)

      strategy.  They have no original thoughts.  Perhaps Paul Krugman was correct when he said Repubs will go even more to the right.

    •  Hard to foresee bipartisanship, isn't it? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, CityLightsLover

      Who was that cranky guy the other night, talking about how the Republicans must "push back" Obama and "resist" him at all costs?

      Also, Lou Dobbs was on last night - I know, I know - and he certainly  wasted no time.

      "The Dow has dropped dramatically in the last two days since Obama's election!  What's he gonna do about it?!"   The pressure is off Bush, it seems, whom Dobbs apparently has forgotten about.  How convenient!

      They're angry and in denial,  agree.

      An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. - B. Franklin

      by MaineMike on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:30:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for posting this, MissLaura (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, Floande

    Some friends of mine were just discussing this (or at least things along similar lines).

    Lots of expectations and hope built up behind Obama but there have to be realistic expectations as well.  One guy can't do it all.  I think we all know that, but it bears repeating.

    Where do we go from here?  Great topic for discussion all around.

    An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. - B. Franklin

    by MaineMike on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:25:34 AM PST

  •  Let's not get spoiled (4+ / 0-)

    We need to pad our lead in Congress as much as we can, but let's remember something:

    We were spoiled this year. Spoiled with one of the greatest political figures in decades. Spoiled with one of the most unpopular Presidents ever.

    Bush will (thankfully) be gone in 74 (right?) days. We're going to have to really bust our asses for the next 2 years to build on our majority.

    What will that require? Well, Congressional efficiency (I'm not looking for miracles, just a few pieces of good legislation we can hold up in front of the American people) for one.

    Two? 2010 season starts today. We need to monitor and closely follow Arizona, Kansas, and Pennsylvania (at the very least) as seats we have a very good shot of picking up in the Senate. We need to follow about four-or-five dozen Congressmen who are vulnerable on both sides. We need to be on these people like white on rice--when they vote, we know. We need to know how to present our side positively to the American people at all times.

    If this week's victory is going to be more than a one-time deal, we must continue to build as aggressively as we have been for the past 4 years. (take it from FDR--the man was reelected 4 consecutive times!--that it is possible to build and demand action when the tides are in your favor).

    President Obama is powerless without us. We might have achieved a victory on Tuesday, but it is small compared to all of the victories we NEED to accomplish over the course of the next decade.

    It is time.

    For Which it Stands

    •  The Republican Party has been in decline for (0+ / 0-)

      a dozen years. Yes, we need to build. But they have built for us.

      They do not have the discipline to govern a great nation because their base does not understand the purposes of governance, or the psychology of "post-modern" voters.

      The two events that began the decline of the Party were the impeachment of Clinton, and the Terry Schivo matter. In both cases, they appealed to the most strident of their members. They paid a price for it, but still think that they made no mistakes.

      They are ineducable, which will guarantee progressive Democratic dominance for more than a generation.

      Our biggest challenege is not to solidify our majority status; it is to translate our majority power into permanent, transformative action.

    •  yes as some of us have Repubs running state (0+ / 0-)

      legislatures and local governments. There is work to be done within our states and communities.

      Plus there is the cause of Poverty, Homeless Veterans and helping our troops and their families.

  •  Painful anachronism and nebulous drivel. (0+ / 0-)

    "Cross-racial alliance building"?  These are the words of someone who has catastrophically missed the point, and about two decades of American society.  And what follows in the recommendations segment sounds like someone had a deadline approaching.

    Freedom is in the fight.

    by Troubadour on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:27:13 AM PST

  •  Greatest Victory OBAMA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Taya Lawrence

    Worst defeats... Franken (sorry, I don't see this one going our way), Begich, Prop-8 passing and Bachmann retaining her seat.

    But you win some and you lose some. We definitely won the PRIZE. Free Republic and Drudgereport are like a funeral procession.

    I laugh at Free Republic's pain. :-D

    by OReillysNightmare on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:28:00 AM PST

  •  hope and danger (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MaineMike, Lady Libertine

    This is the part that struck me the most:

    And hope, absent real pressure and forward motion to actualize one's dreams, is sterile and even dangerous.

    One of my grad school advisers once said to me that the greatest error Karl Marx made was to underestimate the extent to which the proletariat was willing to endure being oppressed as long as they could maintain the hope that someday they could rise up and oppress someone else. The Republicans played on that "dream" while making sure that it would always remain as such, never a reality except for some tiny minority.

    In that sense, hope is an opiate. False hope keeps you going along, assuaging that sense of righteous anger, when you ought to be raising hell.

    This article says one thing to me: let's keep raising hell, people.

    Virtues are lost in self-interest just as rivers are lost in the sea. -- François de la Rochefoucauld

    by rilkas on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:29:35 AM PST

  •  Obama Got a Bigger % of White Vote Than Kerry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Practically anybody who didn't vote for Obama because he was black wouldn't have voted for a Democratic contender anyway.

    I love the way America keeps surprising me, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. This week, it was for the best.


  •  Please provide a reference.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, Lady Libertine

    ...for the statement above that "Most whites did not vote for Obama."

    Where is the evidence for this statement? It's the first I've heard it anywhere. Not trying to be a tr0ll...just want to see it for myself.

    "...Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." Richard Feynman

    by QuestionAuthority on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:30:32 AM PST

    •  white support was not a majority but ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      From the NY Times:

      "America’s political parties grew decisively polarized by race after 1964, the year President Lyndon Johnson signed civil rights legislation that his Republican presidential opponent, Barry Goldwater, opposed. Since then, election pollsters estimate, Democratic nominees have averaged 39 percent of the white vote. In last week’s New York Times/CBS News poll, Mr. Obama drew 44 percent support among whites — a higher proportion than Bill Clinton captured in his general election victories."

      •  and the South (0+ / 0-)

        If the analysis were confined to Southern states which McCain carried, I;m pretty sure that Obama carreid a majority of white voters overall elsewher including the rest of states which McCain carried.

  •  Good to see some of Tim's words on the front page (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have been following his work for a few years now and highly recomend it to anyone interested in digger deeper on race and privledge in this country.

    On the what's next side - our local DFA group in KCMO is going to focus on voting reform - either early voting or (hopefully) even vote by mail.

    McCain = "A whine, a swear word, and P.O.W."

    by ETinKC on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:32:19 AM PST

  •  Let Us Think of Gowing Forward (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but before we turn our attentions utterly to the future, take a little time out to look back at behind the scenes images of Barack Obama and family on election night.

    The more we're exposed to photos and TV images capturing our new prez-to-be interacting on the world stage with world leaders, at home among our own politicos, and in candid personal moments, the more the eyes of the Nation will see a guy "just like us," a wife and kids "just like ours," and the normal behavior of a person who is "just like me."

    We've crossed a threshold that may be abnormal to some, now each passing day when we see this man in office, the normalizing of it will occur.

    And with normalizing comes acceptance.  Hopefully, 8 years of daily exposure to the First Family will turn many pages and make it too difficult to go back to racial attitudes held prior to the 2008 election for the budding next generation of racists and potential racists.

    Intellectually, I look forward eagerly to the 2012 election when I hope to see Obama exceed the white vote garnered by Kerry in '04.  Obama had 8 pts less than Kerry in the Solid South in '08, demonstrating the racist attitudes even among new and younger voters.  There will be even more new and younger voters with the potential to liberalize Dixie if Democrats continue aggressive registration efforts in those states.

    Thus the change takes root.

    They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    by Limelite on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:40:42 AM PST

  •  The larger issue is the churches! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Abortion is still a wedge issue for the fundie churches  (see South Dakota this election) but more and more, it's gay marriages and gay rights that they are attacking.  

    The churches are well-funded, can apparently do whatever they want without fear of losing their IRS exemptions, and they have a host of media announcers and politicians across the country pushing their agenda.  They are a formidable enemy whose influence is getting stronger each year.

    Until the progressive movement attacks this larger problem, we'll be spending huge amounts of time and money fighting rearguard actions.  And there's no telling what group the fundies will decide to go after next.  

    Electing a Republican is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

    by dotalbon on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:47:07 AM PST

  •  Democrats need a rural strategy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, dotalbon

    America's rural areas are suffering heavily in the current economy.  The easiest way to describe Obama's victory is that outside of areas with rural black populations, Obama won the cities and McCain won the towns.

    A concerted, sane effort to help rural areas would be the ultimate anchor to throw the Republicans.  Knock the rural base out from under them, and the GOP would utterly implode.

  •  Are We Still Talking About Racism? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But for a taste, here's Wise on one of the ways Obama's win, despite not in any form or fashion signaling an end to racism, holds promise for forward movement on racism:

    When is Obama going to say ANYTHING about Prop 8?
    Or does that matter?

    •  Putting a groups' civil rights up for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a popular vote referendum? Why would anyone be concerned about that? /snark

    •  Never (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Both Obama and Biden stated in no uncertain terms that they do not support same-sex marriage.

      It's pretty clear to me that the Democrats are OK allies for many important issues, but GLBT rights are not among them. We're going to need to work around the Democratic Party. We're going to have to bring the fight to many who consider themselves progressives. We're going to have to get in the face of a lot of people.

      I'm still wondering if I should try and have hope for the Dems or if I shouldn't just go completely Green. I'll be honest, Obama didn't really inspire me much because let's be honest, he's not really very liberal at all. In most countries, the Dems would be center-right at best. They support positions the Conservatives in the UK and Canada support.

      I wish Obama well. But I know now that I'm not part of the 'we' in Yes We Can. Perhaps one day that will change, but I have a feeling it will be many years down the road with a different President who has more courage.

  •  CNN Says No Increase In Voter Turnout???? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Can you believe this? They say turnout was only 1% higher.

  •  The Long & Winding Road (0+ / 0-)

    Winning was just the beginning for President Elect Barack Obama and the United States.

    Not since Abraham Lincoln has our nation faced such a wide array of major crises - two wars, global terrorism, impending global economic collapse, the environmental meltdown, a potential for further energy sector volatility and that was on top the usual set of problems such as Healthcare and Infrastructure deterioration.

    Both of the candidates knew that this was an important election - but now we face an even more critical transition period. The real work began yesterday. Times of conflict and adversity create the opportunity for greatness, but not just for those leaders who meet those challenges head on; for they are wholly dependent on the active support of the people - this is our challenge as well. In the days to come I predict that the divisions of the campaign trail will quickly submerge into a deep collective memory as the depth of our difficulties becomes ever more apparent.

    The tests that Vice President Elect Biden described briefly several weeks have already begun:

       * The day after being elected, Russia announced to President Obama that they were moving short range nuclear missiles to the border of Poland to counter our placement of Patriot batteries there.
       * A world economic summit is coming together, their mission - to redefine the world's financial architecture. President-Elect Obama will be there; he and all of us have too great a stake for him NOT to dive in.
       * The stock market lost more than 9% of its value in two days as the onslaught of economic bad news continued to pour in.
       * New strategies for prosecuting the wars and the peace are already underway.

    We have to keep in mind that these problems and others that we can't yet foresee will take time and monumental efforts to solve - and we will be asked to help. When that call comes, we must heed it and pull together. The way government works itself will need to change - a change that shall begin to replace lobbyists (and their short sided and destructive agendas) with ordinary people who understand the value of community and who think of their children instead of their profit margins.

    Things are about to get very interesting.

    Copyright 2008, Stephen Lahanas

    "I'm not a Maverick, but I used to drive one."

    by StephenLahanas on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 10:17:14 AM PST

  •  This, especially, rings true to me: (0+ / 0-)

    Much as youth were inspired by a relatively moderate John F. Kennedy (who was, on balance, far less progressive than Obama in many ways), and much as they then formed the frontline troops for so much of the social justice activism of the following fifteen years, so too can such a thing be forseen now. That Kennedy may have been quite restrained in his social justice sensibilities did not matter: the young people whose energy he helped unleash took things in their own direction and outgrew him rather quickly in their progression to the left.

    The timing is different - there was already an immoral war on during this election, and "our" war served in the increasing radicalization of Kennedy's kids. But what I have been thinking lately is this: There is a feeling of unity among those of the left persuasion, of possibility, of some focus on what is wrong and that we have the power and the obligation to change it.  

    The Sixties are back.

    And remember... if you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own.
    - Scoop Nisker, the Last News Show

    by pixxer on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 11:02:43 AM PST

  •  Barack Obama's Calm After the Storm (0+ / 0-)

    I think his emphasis has been that the job is ours. I appreciate that about Wise's commentary reflects the theme as well. We have to be contrite, humble, investigative and tenacious about our approach to race, class, gender, economics and all of our shared issues.

    Read about Obama's Calm After the Storm:

  •  some wingnuts here in Wisconsin (0+ / 0-)

    are VERY unhappy Obama won. On  click "opinion" and scroll down to blogs this site, a user named Step2theright has been talking smack about "Obama didn't earn it."  On another blog, a McCain supporter vomited up these nuggets of wisdom:

    "Hitler was also a man who spoke of Hope and Change...I'm not saying Obama is a Nazi,but..."

    "All the plans Obama has for America will come from the socialist playbook."

    Then he went on to grandstand about how he would "resist" even if it meant his death.

    We are likely to hear grumblings like this until Inauguration Day when the reality finally sets in (we hope) for them.

    I'm at the junction of short, nerdy, and oddly attractive.

    by Pan Zareta on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 06:18:26 PM PST

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