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President Barack Obama: This one’s for the history books

I was going to write a post about my road trip with my sister from Seattle to Idaho Falls and post pictures, but there isn’t much to say about that other than it was long and not that interesting. I’ve got pictures on my Facebook, so you can check it out there. They pretty much say it all. If you can’t see them because you’re not my friend, then add me. There’s a link to my profile on this page. Just scroll down and look on the right. You can’t miss it.

SO…getting to more important topics:

Tonight, history was made. Barack Hussein Obama became the forty-fourth President of the United States and the first African American president. It goes without saying that the campaign trail has been a long and interesting road and the same lies, if not more so.

It’ll be interesting to see how both Obama and the people of this country will adjust to each other. I stayed late at work to watch his speech since I don’t have a TV at my place yet. Let me just say that I was impressed. Here are some of the highlights, in my opinion:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

. . .

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

Let’s face it. Race will be an issue during Obama’s term. I just cannot see it not being an issue. After 22 years of life on this planet and growing up in this country, the way many Americans see things is still black and white when it comes to race. I didn’t even learn about how and why Asians came to this country and their place in this country’s history until at least middle school. Even tonight, we were watching CNN‘s election coverage and I’m sure what exactly the topic was but the woman who was speaking said something about the issues and how they were not black issues and they were not white issues but issues for everyone. At least, I think that’s what she said–it’s been a long day, so don’t quote me on it. I’m sorry, but do I not exist? There are people in this country who don’t fall under either category. Do we not count? I can go on for awhile on this topic so I’m just going to say that I appreciate that Obama mentions more than blacks and whites. It’s probably him just trying to be PC, but it’s still appreciated all the same.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.

Nice personal touch. It made me smile. That’s all, really.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, We are not enemies, but friends. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

Obama is reaching out to republicans and emphasizing the fact that even though he may be a member of the other party, he is first and foremost the man who will be leading a country of those in both parties as well as those in between. He acknowledges them and acknowledges the fact that while his beliefs and ideals on issues may not match up with theirs, he is willing to work on serving them to the best of his abilities. As my boss said, George W. Bush couldn’t even conceive this thought.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

. . .

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

. . .

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

The emphasis above is mine. Although Cooper has lived longer than the average American, Obama makes his point well. So much can change in the span of one lifetime. I mean, in the mere 22 years of my life, as I’ve already said, history was made with this nation’s first African American president. Growing up, I thought it was definitely possible, but I honestly didn’t think it would happen so soon. Not bad for a country that was founded by men who–while holding the great ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness–considered some human beings to be property and others not worthy or qualified enough to vote.

Makes you wonder how else history will be made in this lifetime, doesn’t it?

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2 comments on “President Barack Obama: This one’s for the history books

  1. […] Obama: This one’s for the history books Posted in November 5th, 2008 by in Uncategorized President Barack Obama: This one’s for the history books Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican […]

  2. […] President Barack Obama: This one’s for the history books Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. … […]

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