Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Waking to a New World

Just a few weeks ago I feared that I would wake up November 5 to four more years of Republican hell. As Big J said, it took us five years, but we finally turned Virginia blue.

Well, perhaps we didn't turn Virginia blue, but I am really proud to live in a state that voted for President Obama and now has two democratic senators. We knew early on in the evening that Mark Warner was clearly the senator-elect, but it went down to the wire for the presidential race. And we are still waiting to hear about our congressional district...and I still have hope.

What really makes me proud is the overwhelming support for our president-elect across the United States.

Last night, I checked on little j right after they called the election and I resisted the temptation to wake her up. But as I was sitting on her bed watching her sleep, I couldn't help but think that the next four (and hopefully 8) years will be so much better for her. Looking at little j I felt proud and thankful that America made the choice for a better future.

I admit, I cried through the entirety of Obama's speech. What a difference -- he asked us to sacrifice. He said there would be hard times ahead. I know that's true, but I don't mind knowing that we have a president that will encourage us, guide us, LEAD us. And his words to McCain supporters, "As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too."

These are sentiments that we haven't heard for the last eight years, and words that we needed to hear during this time of uncertainty.

People have asked me what appeals to me about President Obama, his words say it better than I ever could:

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctors bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government cant solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way its been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, its that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.


A Cuban In London said...

Congrats on this historical moment your country is going through.

Greetings from London.

Hyperreflexia said...

please consider running for president. jason can be your vice president. jillian your advisor... children are a lot wiser than we give them credit for.