Well fellow bloggers, I know I have been long absent from this page, despite the frequent entreaties from my our beloved blogmaster. The events of the past week have inspired me to “pen” a few random thoughts on this historic election we have all just witnessed and participated in.
My initial random thought is “Unbelievable!” It is only now just starting to sink in that an African-American named Barack Hussein Obama, whose father was Muslim, has becn elected President. What a marvelous country this indeed is! This single act has restored my faith in this country- where anybody of any race, religion or background can become President.
This victory represents the defeat of negative politics and the cynical use of fear; the defeat of arrogance and mean-spiritedness, of war mongering, of “might makes right”, and of governmental incompetence.
The era of an America as a nation that rains down bombs on wedding parties in Afghan and Iraqi villages, that tortures POWs, that denies civil liberties at home, and operates that monstrous embarrassment: that 21st century gulag, known as Guantanamo, is at long last over.
I am reminded of that great phrase of the Czech playwright and statesman Vaclav Havel’s at the time of the Velvet Revolution: “Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred"
Once again America can live up to its ideals. Once again America can be the city on the hill, that beacon of hope that people around the world look up to, respect and admire.
Once again, one can travel overseas without having to apologize for this country’s atrocious behavior in the last 8 years.
This is a victory for the restoration of alliances and diplomacy, for the return of respect for international law and for multilateral institutions.
This a victory for the vibrancy of American democracy and for the politics of inclusion.
This the final realization of the vision of the founding fathers, of the dream of Martin Luther King, This the crowning achievement, the culmination of the civil rights movement that began on buses in Montgomery over 50 years ago
Obama, unlike most politicians, and many recent Presidents, is not a needy, self-centered, egoist who seeks out the spotlight, who seeks to be the center of attention for its own sake. He truly embodies the essence of calm, confidence, cool, and composure. He is comfortable with himself, secure and maintains a Zen-like level of self-awareness and inner peace that is unusual for American politicians.
He contains the spirit of Lincoln, JFK and MLK in one body and we have seen echoes of all three in his speeches (including the speech on Tuesday night)
He is exactly what this country, and world, needs during these troubled times. He will be a balm for our national soul, he will soothe the inflamed passions of the world. His will be a centrist administration, with a bipartisan cabinet, governed from the center (not a “socialist” one as the fearmonger McCain claimed), He will unify, not polarize the country.
On a personal note, I was proud to be part of the spontaneous demonstration outside the White House on Tuesday night, as young and old, black and white, gathered outside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for a symbolic reclaiming of this house, built 200 years ago with slave labor – this was the American version of the Czech Velvet Revolution- the people have taken their government back.
Who could imagine, as I walked to my classes freshman year at Columbia, that passing me by on College Walk, was an senior, anonymous to me and to no doubt many of his class, a young man who would go on to such greatness.
One more personal note: I am equally as proud that my good friend and former roommate Dan Maffei will soon be walking the halls of Congress representing the 25th Congressional district (Syracuse and environs) of New York.