Post-Election Thoughts

November 5, 2008

I’ve been meaning to post all day.  The election’s over; Obama won.  I’ve been planning this post — hoping I’d have the chance to write it — for weeks.  But I’ve spent the last hour looking at the posts my friends have written and commenting on them.  And I find that I have little to add to what others have said with eloquence and grace and same mix of joy and disbelief that I’ve been feeling since last night.

But one comment on a friend’s blog caught my eye.  The comment was from a Republican who was distraught at the way the election had gone and who said that he was lying low today, avoiding his friends for fear of having his nose rubbed in last night’s defeat.  I wrote in reply that as a Democrat who has suffered through Kerry’s heartbreaking loss in 2004, Gore’s bitter defeat in 2000, and the embarrassing drubbings of the Reagan/Bush-the-Elder years, I won’t be rubbing anyone’s nose in anything.

The power and beauty of Barack Obama’s speech last night lay in his magnanimity and humility.  It wasn’t a victory speech as much as it was a call to action.  And it was made all the more effective by John McCain’s concession speech just moments before, which was as generous and full of grace as any speech I’d ever heard McCain give.  Perhaps together, these two men — acting as leaders, as politicians are supposed to —  showed our entire nation how we might move beyond the acrimony and raw emotions of this extraordinary campaign.

We have so much to do as a people.  We can’t afford to waste a moment on recrimination or gloating.  Let’s get to work.  Together.  Yes, we can.

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