Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An American Mandate for Change


"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. - John F. Kennedy"
The American people went to their respective polling places yesterday and voted, and when they were done the election result was not even close. In a truly historic victory, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois was elected to the Presidency. He was elected by a 53%-47% margin over his Republican challenger John McCain, a far greater margin than this writer believed was likely or even possible. In doing so he becomes the first African-American ever elected to the highest office in the land. That may not be too significant for the younger generation raised in a largely racially integrated society. But to those of us who were alive in the 1960's and '70's, the election of a black man to the Presidency is truly remarkable. Forty years after Martin Luther King was assasinated in Memphis, Tennessee, his dream has taken its largest step forward into becoming reality. Could even the great Dr. King have had the foresight to see this happening in America this quickly, if ever at all? In electing him, the American people have shown unequivocally that we have fully matured beyond the racial prejudices and barriers that previously separated us. In a time of Islamofascist terrorism, the American people overcame fears and elected to the Presidency a man with a Muslim-sounding name and at least a familial Islamic past. In a time where Americans are believed to be divided racially, the American people overcame those perceptions and elected to the Presidency a man whose mother was white, and whose father was a black man who abandoned them. The key factor in the Obama victory was the simple but effective theme of his campaign: Change. After 6 years of war, no matter how necessary, Americans were tired of it. They have grown tired of talk about terrorists, Osama bin Laden, Islamofascism, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran. They have grown weary of a Bush administration that, though keeping America safe since 9/11, has done little to address any substantive issues beyond security here at home. Liberals wanted Bush impeached, but did not have the power to put him through the type of trial to which Bill Clinton subjected himself. In my opinion, last night's vote by the American people was all about Democrats and dissatisfied centrists ceremonially tossing George W. Bush out of the White House. Unfortunately for John McCain, an obviously good and decent man and a true American hero, he was standing in the shoes that Bush was unable by our laws to stand in himself. It likely would not have mattered in the end who was the Republican nominee for President or Vice-President. This race was certainly not decided by a dissatisfaction with a potential President McCain, or even any real problems with a VP Sarah Palin. This race was a referendum on the Bush administration, highlighted by the Obama campaign's primary message in the closing weeks that a McCain victory would signal a '3rd Bush term' and a continuation of its ideals. Hillary Clinton must really be kicking herself this morning. For years she was seen as the next great Democratic hope. She was not only the clear front-runner just a year ago, but she was the only real candidate in the race on the Dem side. Had Barack Obama never emerged, she would be celebrating her own history-making election today as the first female U.S. President. That is how much the people of America wanted a change. In the end, Republicans across the nation were fighting a battle that they had almost no chance of winning. Yesterday, Barack Obama swept to the Presidency thanks to a mandate for the very change that his campaign brilliantly called for, and he brought along a boat load of U.S. Senators and Congresspersons in his considerable wake. America will be a fundamentally different nation over the next few years. Whether that change is for the better or not is yet to be determined. I personally do not hold out the same hope that Obama's followers feel this morning. But one thing is certain, America will change, because it has been mandated by a clear majority of the people. Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama, to Vice-President-elect Joe Biden, their families and campaign staff, and all those who voted for them. When possible and as best we can, we Republicans will support you as our President. We will also oppose you vocally on issues that we feel are key to our nation and our American culture. And as we all move forward from today, may God bless America as He always has in the past.

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