Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In case you were wondering where Manhattan politics lie...

This town has lost it. First it was "democracy plaza," then the bars, then the vocal eruptions on the street. I've heard more honking horns tonight than in the year prior. There's a palpable feeling of hope covering these streets like a thick grime. Until today I walked around oblivious to the politics of my neighbors. Often this town even seems too cool for politics and too cool to care, but tonight, that facade has faded and New York is jubilant. Their guy made it.

And I agree that tonight is historic, but tonight is historic for more than just the obvious reasons.

Barack Obama's path to this achievement was simultaneously easy and hard. The incumbent party was led by a man with unrivaled unpopularity. The candidate tasked with taking that torch was honorable but past his prime and plagued by missteps. Our eventual victor had to battle past a venerable opponent in his own party, a woman with legions in her corner who'd been with her more than a decade. He managed to overcome not only race, but even a name that many thought would be his demise. (Don't forget that we celebrated the execution of the other famous Hussein less than two years ago). He was a socialist. A terrorist. A foreigner. A baby killer. But he somehow managed to rise above it all with a message perfectly tuned to the needs of Americans and the world today.

As a friend said to me tonight, when's the last time you knew you'd lived through a truly historic moment? Tonight was one of those moments. And now I sit back to see how it all plays out. Will Americans be happy with their new leader? Will he prove worthy of the position? Is he already facing too steep of an uphill battle? We'll soon find out, but for now, we can bask in the glow of historical achievement. The last Democrat Virginia supported was Lyndon Johnson, a man who went on to alienate southern Democrats by signing extensive civil rights legislation. That same state has just now voted our first black President into the White House. It's nothing short of a mind blowing moment.

So let's see how it all turns out. Let the lame dubya finish his final days and analyze the first decisions of our brand new leader. What will his cabinet look like? How will he first address the financial crisis? It all remains to be seen. But the one thing we do know is that it's a new chapter in American politics, and that's always exciting.


kgwhit said...

As a Tennessean/Virginian who grew up in the segregated south. I have never been happier about a Presidential election.
When I was in the Marine Corps in southeast asia, my best friend was a black guy. We went out getting stoned and laid in the great tradition of the Corps. We came back to Camp LeJeune. We drank at the NCO club but going out to Jacksonville NC together was a problem in 1967. We began to drift apart. I'm sure he missed my dancing and I missed his jumpshot.
We could be Marines together in war but not off base in the US. I don't know where he is, or even if he is still alive, but Raymond I couldn't be happier that one of your bros is our President. I'll drink one for you tonight.