: : I’ve had lots of feelings since Tuesday night. Those related to the results of the presidential election have been almost exclusively positive - especially after I got over the sense of disbelief! Deep down, I really expected we would be holding our breath for hours, if not days, as we had to in 2000 and 2004. Watching it all unfold beginning at 11:00 p.m. eastern time was stunning - thrilling, but stunning!
: : In the midst of the joy, bad news rolled in. Most disappointing was the approval of California’s Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to limit marriage to unions between a man and a woman. This came after more than 18,000 same-sex couples have been legally married in California. Florida and Arizona voters also passed preemptive bans on same-sex marriage.
: : If the John McCain who gave a gracious concession speech Tuesday night had been the “Candidate McCain” on the campaign trail, they might still be counting votes. And if the information coming from the McCain campaign staffers about Sarah Palin, to Fox News’ Carl Cameron is remotely true, we were incredibly fortunate that it was the 2008 version of John McCain who ran for president.
: : President-Elect Obama spoke about the need to end division and partisanship in his election night speech:
“In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.
Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.
Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.
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.”
That is still difficult for me. I expect that it will be for longer than I would like. My anger remains deep and hot over the lies promulgated by Senator McCain, Governor Palin, their staffers and the Big Republican Machine, especially post conventions to the election. But what has left me more depressed than angry has been how many people believed the lies. When such individuals are known to me, there are additional feelings.
: : The post election maps drawn by political analysts show a country with more blue than red. (We still don’t have final numbers, but the most recent information has Obama-Biden at 53% and McCain-Palin at 46%.) That is cause for excitement and satisfaction. But I worry that all those pointillistic red dots, spreading into red counties and red states represent people who may be feeling as upset and dismayed as I felt in 2000 and 2004. I hope they can hear President- Elect Obama’s sentiments I quoted above. But if I, as a voter for the winners, am struggling, I have to believe folks who voted Republican are also challenged by his words.
: : Despite significant increases in registered voters, the voter turnout still hovered around only 60-61% of people eligible to vote.
: : Lastly, the number of spinning plates the new Obama-Biden administration will be facing is enormous. Watching the national and international reaction I do not believe I am overstating it when I say that many people are expecting that this election will somehow lead to the healing of an ailing world. Folks may not believe intellectually that is possible, but it seems to be a widely held hope.
I hope that President-Elect Obama will ask for our help in tackling these myriad and difficult tasks. Look what happened when a young State Senator from Illinois spoke at the 2004 Democratic Convention and sparked a movement of millions who stated: “Yes We Can”. We have come this far. We can go the distance. Together, yes we can...