The Day America Awoke
The sun rose today on a new chapter in our nation’s history. Today we awoke. America awoke as the pages turned. We awoke to a morning of hope.
Twenty years ago, the view we see today was unthinkable. Fifty years ago, it was illegal for a man like Barack Obama to share a drinking fountain with other Americans based on the color of his skin. One hundred years ago, it was laughable to think of a black President–a joke. And two hundred years ago, this remarkable man, the man we have elected to serve as the 44th President of the United States of America would have been, in all probability, someone’s property.
Today is a new day.
Beyond the celebrations of our achievements in the realm of race is the knowledge that America has spoken. The election of Barack Obama as our President signifies that the American people have re-awoken to our dream, that we have realized the enormity of our own hopeful beacon–not just to be a beacon for others around the world, but as a symbol to ourselves that yes, we can make a difference. We are now, as we ever were, a government of the people, by the people, and for the people of this nation.
Today is a new day.
To watch the reactions of the world’s countries is to witness the rebirth of the American nation. Tears fell freely last night as the votes poured in and Barack Obama’s victory resonated across America. Last night was a victory for Americans in the eyes of our planet, and a victory for many of us who have believed our votes didn’t count or that our voices would not be heard. We were heard last night.
It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.
We are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It’s the answer that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
….[Our victory] grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.
It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.
Tears and smiles were everywhere last night, and as the pictures from across the globe are shown, today we, as citizens of this planet, we are all Americans. This election showed the world that we care about them, and that they matter, and I believe the effects of this declaration will be immeasurable.
Today dawned on a new hope for our country, and a new hope for the world. We awoke to a country still divided in many deep ways, but the gaps can be bridged.
What made President Obama’s campaign so remarkable was the notion of “we.” Yes we can. America is more than the sum of its parts; it is the distinct realization that as a collection of individuals, the end product of our power and scope of influence stems from our ability to stand together, from the fact that we are united.
The true inspiration in this election is that unity is achievable not in spite of our diversity, but because of it. America has always been built on shoulders of distinct individuals and people groups, and it through that very diversity that our strength is forged. E pluribus unum–Out of many, one.
Last night, we proved we could. Shouts of “Yes we did!” echoed through buildings and parks and streets. Yes, we did. Last night, we proved we could take a giant step forward to achieving the healing of this nation, and the progressing of our country into the 21st century, but it is not over yet. Moving forward, we must remember that our chant is still “Yes we can.” We did what we set out to do and elected our chosen leader, but this is only the beginning. We have a lot to do. And we can do it. Together. As a “we.” Yes, we can.
President Obama was right last night. Many will disagree with his politics, and also with his decisions as president. The striking undertone to that portion of his acceptance speech was found in his statements to those who did not vote for him.
[T]o those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.
It’s in the word “earn” that the character of a true leader is shown, and the spirit of democracy thrives. It is the concept that we can expect greatness from our elected leaders, and that we have every right to spur them on toward that greatness and require that they earn our votes, our support, and our respect.
Barack Obama is the President-Elect of the United States of America. Today is a new day, and today is only the beginning. It is today that our work to restore this great nation begins. It is now up to us to ensure that the last 21 months have not been an exercise in empty rhetoric, but of the genuine movement to create change in our country. It is up to us to create the change we need and to support our President, Barack Obama, as he leads us forward. We are one nation out of many. We are one nation among many. We are America.
Posted on 5 November, 2008, in meanderings, soapbox, thoughts and tagged barack obama, beacon, change, diversity, election, hope, life, nation, people, progress, symbol, unity, yes we can. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.