This night marks a new era in American history, and changes the world in which we live. We have, for the first time in our history, elected a black man to be the leader of this country, and by a wide margin. Now it’s time for the divisive politics to end, and for members of both parties to work together for common goals.
Among the many very important things that happen today, one stands out in my mind: a race that began its existence on this continent as a stolen people today comes into its own on this historic evening. People of color in this country and around the world can walk quite a bit taller today.
As someone on Twitter pointed out a few days ago, we can actually to some extent thank George W. for it — the country went so very far awry in the last eight years that people who would never otherwise have considered voting either for a black man as president or a woman vice president had their choice of both. And many of those who voted for Obama did so without a second thought — he is a President, and never mind the color of his skin. I, for one, am today more proud of being American than I ever have been in my life.
Something else this election saw that no other election has to date: the real power of social networking. Both campaigns — but especially Obama’s — took advantage of the now-pervasive social media, employing bast-practice marketing techniques, and making them work (whatever we might think of the tactics themselves). Using tools such as Facebook, Twitter and email and mobile communications, subscribers were kept up to date, up-to-the-minute, and both campaigns mobilized their constituents to such an extent that this election reports record voter turnout and record new voter registration. It was amazing to behold.
The Obama campaign not only sent out communiqués to supporters; it paid attention to responses. Let’s hope the sort of direct and transparent approach continues through and after the transition. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to know that the people’s representative did actually listen to those who disagreed, as his acceptance speech indicated? We as a people have been given a mandate in that statement: if we don’t like what’s going on, we’re expected to say so, in reasoned tones and with a willingness to examine the options.
In the aftermath, I have received calls from friends who worry that their pay will be cut in half, they won’t be able to afford this or that, to which I respond: don’t listen to the campaign rhetoric. The difference between what we hear before the election and what happens after the transition will be worlds apart. Don’t spend time worrying — it solves nothing and only makes you more worried.
No matter which camp you were in before today, let us now be united again in working toward peace and healing for this country and for the world.