Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let's get political (yes, I do believe that I am the first person EVER to make that play on words, thankyouverymuch!)

Apparently, We actually Can.

And I have some thoughts on this (as per usual).
I've been reading articles all morning about the way that this election has brought people together. They are saying that in line to vote people had a very "we" mentality vs. a "me" mentality (Link
And apparently voter turnout was ridiculously high. (I heard that in Connecticut, it was almost 98% turnout!)
Wasn't it just a few years ago that turnout was almost at an all-time low?

So what is going on with our country? I mean, as far as I can tell, this election was so deeply divided between red and blue, it could have been gang warfare. I mean seriously, I'm sure wearing a certain color tie has become, in the grown-up world, pretty much the same as wearing the wrong color bandanna. I know that around here, if you support McCain, getting bitch-slapped is the least of your worries.

I think I have to believe that this transcendence and this complete and utter obsession with politics that our country has shown is the result of a deep, aching need for a change. I mean a real change. Something that will turn our country around, something that will bring us out of financial crisis, something that will end the sickening stalemate of stupidity that we call a war, something that will end the distrust of the government, of our protectors, that has seeped into all pores and corners of our nation.

And honestly? I think either candidate would have brought about that change. They are both moderate enough and both understand the current situation of the people of the United States well enough to publicly address their needs and make the changes that need to be made. But this wasn't an issue-election the way the last two elections were. I mean, I don't follow politics like I should, but the issues really fell into the background. I have no idea where Obama stands on abortion. I don't know what McCain thinks of illegal immigration. But I do know that they both have what it takes to regain international credibility and respect for the United States. And that's what I think really mattered in this election, and I also think that's why there was such a sudden interest and... passion, for the political "now" of our country.

I hate to say it, because it sounds cynical, but we were voting for a figurehead, and that's a lot easier for people to understand than the issues. Just look at why so many people voted for Bush - he seemed like a guy you could sit down and have a beer with. Well, thankfully we realized that running a country like you're drunk is no way to deal with the lives of millions of people. Just look at who we could vote for this year - two heroes. I mean, serious heroes. McCain is a war hero, and just by running Obama became a hero to every minority group in the country, and I'm including women here. And it's obvious in the way they talk.

And that's why I think people could transcend party lines while in the midst of a deeply divided election - because either way it would end up the change that we all needed.
That's also why I think voter-turnout was high, especially with that problem group - the youth, people knew they were taking part in something big, something historical and at the same time were still aware of the importance of participating as one person in a divided election.

So we're finally fully aware of out right and responsibility to vote as US citizens. We finally care about what's going on in our world. We finally have a leader who is inspiring and welcomed with open arms by the INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. (Seriously, I was looking at the latest Reuter's headlines, it's all "Leaders of Europe hail Obama victory" "Asia offers warm welcome to Obama")

So what happens now?
I mean we've put so much into this election, where is it all going to go? They tell me that I missed the most amazing night in Berkeley since the 60's. (I told them to stop making me jealous, that wasn't fair.) Apparently there were so many people on telegraph that cars were trapped, people were crowd surfing and fireworks were going off. From my early-morning sources, I hear that Santa Cruz was similar. Well, fantastic! I'm so happy to see my nation celebrating a political victory. But where is all that energy going to go?

The world is not going to change over night. We have not been magically transported back into the era of political fervor that was the 60's, activism doesn't work the same way today. I mean, Obama doesn't become president tomorrow. He's not going to have the troops out of Iraq for his inauguration party. And the economy is not going to miraculously recover as part of the celebration. It's going to take a lot of work. The dark days are still ahead of us, and I think many people don't really understand this. I think we've all been dazzled by the idea of change, that we're still seeing stars. But those are going to fade, and fade fast, and we'll be left with the same sights we had before.

Yea. It's going to take a long time. I support Obama for many reasons, my primary reason is, in fact his inexperience. He has the intelligence to surround himself with more experienced people, but hopefully some of that naivety will help pull us out of the same system that we have been dealing with for years. The world is changing, we need to too.

But there are a lot of other reasons that he scares me. Even before being elected president, he had the highest guard of any president in the history of the United States. He is a black president in a country where there still is racism, not matter how hard we pretend it's not there. I'm thankful that he chose Joe Biden as his running mate because there is a very real chance that Obama could get killed. Also, I worry for what is going to how public opinion of him is going to change when the stars fade out of our eyes. We expect great things, amazing things. We anticipate a period of drastic change and rapid regeneration of the dead limbs of our society. It's not going to happen like that and when it doesn't, I worry that people will blame Obama. I mean, society doesn't understand how politics works, society judges by what we see in the media and we judge by whatever is happening in the moment. We can't know what is going on behind the scenes. Will we become complacent and bored again? Or is this really a change?

Yes We Did, but what will we do now?

I, for one, am going to go have a margarita. Happy cinco de noviembre everyone!!!
(Do you have any idea what the "mexican food" is like here? We had to get together a celebration to cook and remember. Though... no one else is from California, right? So when I said "tacos" they went "ground beef!" and I went "oy..." I'll just have to continue dreaming about my steak tacos with onions and cilantro for another month and a half.)

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