Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A New Beginning and a New Road Ahead

Today is a day to savor. America has done something incredible. As the New York Times described it:
From far away, this is how it looks: There is a country out there where tens of millions of white Christians, voting freely, select as their leader a black man of modest origin, the son of a Muslim. There is a place on Earth — call it America — where such a thing happens.

But this is also a day to shift our perspective: supporters of Obama can no longer be, as we have been for much of this campaign -- as I have been for much of this campaign -- uncritical fans and followers of President-Elect Obama. From this point on, we must continue to support the new administration in its efforts to deal with the wreckage left by the past eight disastrous years, but we must also work to keep a President Obama true to the principles that led so many of us to support him in the first place. We cannot let a President Obama forget that we, the people who put him where he is today -- and whom he will need again in four years -- demand
  • an end to the war in Iraq;

  • affordable health care for all Americans;

  • that our progressive perspective to be represented in the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court;

  • immediate action to combat global warming;

  • high-quality public education for all American children, and programs to make college affordable for all willing and deserving students;

  • a real effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fairly and justly, and

  • a renewed emphasis on negotiation first -- especially with those that we have called our enemies.
It is true that President-Elect Obama will be inheriting some of the most difficult conditions any new president has seen in decades. And it will take some time to get to most of these issues; we cannot expect that everything can be changed overnight. But we must not forget the point of this victory.

It was not simply to get the Republicans out of power. And as incredible and history-making as it is, it was not simply to elect an African-American to the Presidency. It was to put America back on the right track, and to make this a better, more just nation. It cannot be overstated: Obama's election is in itself one of the most powerful symbolic steps America has ever taken. However, in the overwhelming glory of this moment, we must keep our eyes fixed on what we must do with this opportunity. This could be the beginning of a fantastic period of, yes, change in America -- change that will live on long past an Obama administration.

Our work is not done -- now that our moment has arrived, let's actually make change happen.


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Toddy said...

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I'd like to say thanks for all your punditry and such over the last year. I thoroughly enjoyed your posts.
Congrats on winning. To everyone.

raskolnikov2525 said...


it has been a pleasure, and a source of great information and opinion (which i share) following your blog this past year. with a new baby, it was nearly impossible for me to read a whole news site and i looked to you for updates on the state of the world, the election and more. thank you!
your passion and compassion made me feel so much and i found myself in awe many times at the america you honestly depicted.
i am thrilled for america that obama is our new president, thrilled for my son, and thrilled for you!
we miss you here in nyc.