What Happens Now: Post Election 2008
A week ago, I helped change the world. I, like so many others, came out in force to propel a young senator from Illinois to the most powerful position in the free world. After the election had been called, the citizens of Seattle took to the streets in joy. From 9:00pm to 2:00am, happy voters partied peacefully as Seattle Police watched from the perimeter. There was no vandalism, no arrests, only a palpable sense of joy. There were similar outbursts in cities like New York and Chicago, although few as peaceful, as mind boggling as the one in Seattle.
This historic win may not just lift the first African-American to the highest publicly elected in the country. Should Obama deliver on even half of his proposed changes and rollbacks of the past years, he will reinvigorated the political spirit of America laid low when beloved president John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and when Richard M. Nixon besmirched the White House with his lies. Since these tragic strikes against the American dream, politics has been treated as a dirty word, something most would choose to willfully ignore despite the potential for benefit. It has even been suggested that Obama’s presidency could begin the fourth republic in America.
But what the future holds remains to be seen. As it stands now, there is much work to do. Despite the landslide of electoral votes and surprising separation by the popular vote, 46% of the country voted for John McCain. Despite our joy, there is still sorrow there. There is confusion, anger, and also curiosity. Today, I did not change history, but hopefully I changed one girl’s perspective.
One of my co-workers, the only one my own age, asked me what I thought about Obama’s win. I explained to her my elation about his win, and the hopeful new age in American politics, when I was met with a strange collection of questions. Was Obama a naturalized citizen? Would he repeal the constitution? Would he take away the second amendment? Who was this Joe Biden character?
For the next half an hour, I gave her a crash course education in the requirements to be president, what it takes to pass or repeal an amendment, who Joe Biden was, why he as a good candidate for Vice President, and the responsibilities of the Vice President. I explained to her the vast insufficiencies of Sarah Palin as a vice presidential candidate, and why Obama’s tax plan would be a benefit to the country at large.
In his concession speech. John McCain proved that deep beneath the image he spent cultivating over his campaign, the relic of the 2000 campaign still lurked there with dignity and compassion. But McCain’s followers are not the forgiving and knowledgeable man he is, and part of responsibility of an informed voter is informing others. Do not shy away from this task because in the coming days it will be one of the most important ones we undertake. An informed yet disagreeable voter is a much larger asset to this country than an uninformed one. President-elect Barack Obama has given us hope in our political system, let us take that hope and give it to our countrymen. It is the least we can do.
Photo credit to current.tv