Most people on this website know that I am a fervent Barack Obama supporter, so needless to say that I was pleased with his landslide victory this evening. But that's not what this article is about. I am not going to go on and on about how happy I am that Obama won, or what I think that means for this country. Instead, I am going to remember the ride that we took to get here, take a look at some popular (or unpopular) propositions in Washington and California, and comment on the speeches delivered by both Barack Obama and John McCain on election night.
First of all, I have to ask the question... Aren't you glad it's finally over
? Regardless of whether or not you supported Barack Obama, you have to admit that at least all of this crazy political chaos is over... At least for the next three months, before people start talking about 2012. I just want you to heave a collective sigh of relief with me right now. In... Out...
Secondly-- What a ride, eh? This election had a record voter registration and turnout. We haven't had so many people come out to vote (percentage wise) in one hundred years. People-- that is a big deal
! America was energized, excited, and motivated to vote more than it ever has been in the past. Even before Obama's declared victory, people were calling this a defining moment in history because so much
of the nation was involved. They were comparing it to the 1960s with the young political movement. Aren't you proud that you were there
when this happened? That you were a part
of that history? Regardless of who you voted for, you exercised your democratic right and duty and went out there and voted
. And I say kudos to you!
It's been a long road to get here, what with campaigns that have been lasting two, three, even four years. One could say that McCain's campaign started way back in the 1980s, and he has come a long way, and he managed a great campaign.
It's widely known that the major fault I personally find with McCain's campaign was his choice in Vice President. But we won't go there today.
I am choosing instead to focus on McCain and the strides he took to come as far as he did, and recognize what he's done for this country. He is a war hero, and should be respected. I have few things to say against John McCain, and most of them are policy-oriented. Regardless of what I think of him as a politician, as a person I think he is an intelligent man, who has done a number of great things that he should be proud of, and I also think he was very gracious this evening in his concession speech, which was beautifully delivered. He handled it with elegance and humility, and I could tell that it was heartfelt. So bravo to him.
On the topic of speeches, let's turn now to Barack Obama's acceptance speech in Illinois this evening. He walked out onto the stage with his wife, Michelle, and his two adorable little girls and he commanded that stage and he invigorated that crowd. Even sitting at home, watching him on TV, I
wanted to stand up and cheer. He gave due credit to John McCain and reached out to those who didn't vote for him. He promised to unite the nation, and reminded America that our similarities are stronger than our differences. In a popular phrase of his, he repeated that "We are not red states, and we are not blue states, we are the United States of America."
Examining both speeches, they were each great for far different reasons. Of course, they were both different sorts of speeches, and both Obama and McCain delivered theirs with perfection. But if I were to give an award to who delivered the best speech tonight, I would probably have to give it to McCain, if only because a concession speech is one of the hardest speeches to deliver, and he did it beautifully and I respect him all the more for it.
If you happened to miss either McCain or Obama's speeches, I wouldn't worry. They will probably be posted to this spot soon enough.
Looking back again on the months and years that led up to this moment, I think we can all agree that it was a heated race, filled with tension (Obama Vs Clinton), scandals (John Edwards), chants and slogans ("Yes We Can" and "Country First"), gimmicks, ploys, mud-slinging, controversy, drama, and that devious "Gotchya!" media that just wouldn't leave things alone.
The primaries were chaos. Do you even remember the names of some of the people who ran for the candidacies? Names like Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd, Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo? Well, maybe you do, especially if they were a favorite of yours for their candidacy. But the point is that this race began with so many presidential hopefuls, then shifted rather rapidly to just three (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain), and then two, and then, finally, President-Elect Barack Obama came out on top. It's kind of like watching a reality show where people get voted off every week, except this was far more dramatic, relevant, and realistic.
Some fabulous moments to remember (and this is just off the top of my head, and in no particular, let alone chronological order):
Lightning striking when Giuliani said he was pro-choice (link
The primary debates which no one watched
Palin can't name a superior court case link
McCain's Beach Boys "Bomb bomb bomb link
Lipstick on a pig
McCain can't remember how many houses he has
Biden calls Obama link
McCain calls Obama "That one"
Tina Fey plays Palin to perfection ("I can see Russia from my house!")
Paris Hilton runs for president
Palin prank called by Canada
Letterman clearly does not like McCain
Joe the Plumber (WTF?)
Oprah loves Obama
Obama dances on Ellen
Palin offers to babysit Fey's daughter
New Yorker's Obama cartoon scandal
Edwards mistress pregnant
There are, of course, plenty more, but that's just to bring a smile to your face, and show that every candidate is only human, and McCain, Obama, Palin and Biden all made mistakes during the campaign that they either regretted, or managed to laugh at themselves about.
Let's fast forward back to November fourth again and look at two propositions that are important to me.
In Washington State, a proposition was made to provide lethal drugs to mortally ill patients. The law was outlined with Oregon's Death With Dignity law as its foundation. The laws are more or less identical. As a large proponent of the Death With Dignity law in Oregon, I was ecstatic when I learned this would be on the ballot this time around. But as Oregon is the only state in the nation which has passed a law such as this, my parents thought it was unlikely that Washington would. But lo and behold, on election night, it passed by 67%! That really made my day. I'm sorry if folks out there would vote against such a law, but I just wanted to tell everyone that I was happy about that.
Another proposition I was interested in, even though it wasn't in my state, was California's (in)famous Proposition 8, which was a proposal to amend California's state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, effectively overruling the court decision to allow same sex marriage. Unfortunately (in my personal opinion), as of midnight on November fourth, the proposition was passing by 53% of the vote with 50% of all precincts reporting.
So tonight was a bitter-sweet-- but mostly sweet-- victory for me and my beleifs, as far as I'm concerned. The initiatives of my state that I wanted to pass did so and the initiatives I was not too fond of didn't pass. So happy day for me as a Seattlite and Washingtonian, as well as Obama supporter.
I recognize that not everyone reading this article will agree on my stances on the propositions/initiatives, or on my support of Barack Obama. But as I said in the beginning, I think we can all agree on one thing: Aren't you glad it's over?