It makes me so happy to know that what I saw in Barack Obama about two years ago was seen by so many other Americans. I feel a renewed sense of kinship with you all that was hidden or discolored by previous elections and the climate of the last eight years. Last night, every state I ever lived went blue: Indiana, New Mexico, Virginia and (although I guess it's still not official) North Carolina.
I was in London when we began the wrong war and watched as the world's perception of our country changed from a beacon to a warning light. Now I know that we can begin to heal those relationships.
Yesterday in Henrico County (and a little in Richmond City) I spoke with so many Obama supporters and was happy to provide those people with a little bit of added enthusiasm by checking to see if they had already voted. Those that had were excited to see someone out 'working it' , many were literally on their way out the door and a few of them arranged for rides with us. The lead volunteers were organized, professional and determined. Kudos to them for opening their own doors to allow us to be more effective.
As the results of this election sink in for me and my eyes dry up from the tears of joy last night, I sense some ghosts of hatred fleeing the places where they had festered for so long. Roanoke and Richmond City both voted for the first African-American president (as well as many other southern cities). Wow. That diluted sense of darkness that has hovered behind me here in Richmond is gone.
And listen, it's not that I think he's going to build a utopia- it's more that I feel confident in his decision-making faculties. The things that he spoke about in his acceptance speech were idealistic and I like it that way. It's what I saw in him from the beginning. Let's not shy away from the best of all possible worlds, but let's not turn our heads when it inevitably something doesn't go as planned. For now, I will bask in this result and try to apply some of those grand ideals a little more in my own life.
On one sad note, proposition 8 in California did pass, revoking the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples throughout the state. It hurts me to see people actively taking away an existing right of another group. Shame on you. It's just meanness, prejudice, ignorance and fear. Results like this are sobering and remind us of the long road ahead. After all, it's not like Virginia even had this possibility on the table. What will happen to gay and lesbian couples who have already gotten married?
One more thing, speaking about people of the right-wing variety. John McCain's concession speech was very appropriate and I think he did an excellent job in trying to calm his *ahem* enthusiastic supporters. I heard them yelling things out during the speech, heard them booing and McCain very forcefully told them to stop. Now, certainly his tactics are somewhat to blame for stoking some of the fire in these people but at last now he can return to being John McCain and not whoever that was on the campaign trail.
Yes, yes, y'all. Let's hope now for the return of civility.