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November 05, 2008

Congratulations, #44


A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of Booker T. Washington to visit -- to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African American to the presidency of the United States. Let there be no reason now -- (cheers, applause) -- let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth. (Cheers, applause.)

Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it, and offer in my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day, though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise.

Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

I urge all Americans -- (applause) -- I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences, and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

- John McCain's concession speech

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 told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

- Barack Obama, 44th President of these United States

I am, and have always been, a hopeful person.

I opposed the candidacy of Senator Obama vigorously, because I believe his policies are wrong for this country. I deeply oppose his stance on the war on terror.

But I also have a deep and abiding faith in this country, and in her people. We are a great nation, more than capable of transcending painful political divisions which drive us apart; of overcoming hatred and suspicion; of building consensus and cooperation where there has been only distrust and despair. This nation was, after all, an experiment no one believed would work: an experiment called democracy.

This experiment was forged in the fires of dissent and revolution, tested against bitter trials of civil war and proved its mettle when Europe was twice ravaged by armies intent on genocide and the wholesale eradication of classical liberalism. Despite the well founded fears of many on this post election morning, I have no fears for America's future; for we are the same people we have always been: a free people.

Have faith. Support the rule of law and be gladdened that in the eyes of many of our countrymen and women, an ancient wound has been salved. If there is one good to come from this day, it is that no man nor woman will be able to say with justice that in these United States there is a color barrier at the door of the highest office in the land. All are welcome. All may pass.

And that is progress by any measure you care to name.

It remains for us now to find a way to reconcile our political differences, for despite the rhetoric of hope and change our differences are stark and will not give way to the fuzzy talk that wins votes. This will require grace and magnanimity from the victors as well as restraint and willingness to forget old grudges from the losers in this contest. We need not forebear to criticize, but we should never undermine policy once Mr. Obama takes his oath in January.

And above all, let us respect the dignity of the office of the President. He has earned it by dint of the campaign he ran, as well as by virtue of the thousands of votes cast for him. It is well that there will be no unseemly haggling over the vote counts, as happened in 2000 and 2004. This has been a long contest and with two wars going on and an economic turndown to deal with, our energies will be best directed to the conversation about the America we want to leave for our children and grandchildren.

The good news is that we all still have a voice in that America. Let's roll our sleeves up and make it a better place.

Others chiming in:


Posted by Cassandra at November 5, 2008 08:21 AM

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Permit me a round of snark served with a side of cruel chuckle:

Where are the left-wing pundits on the electoral college now? I has to ax the question because even a year ago there were calls for abolishing it.


Posted by: Cricket at November 5, 2008 11:16 AM

You know, I didn't notice that!

I was tempted to note that hopefully we'll see less of a microscope on the polls and more meaningful calls for *sensible* electoral reform. I think that's what is needed here. Not every call for reform at the ballot box is an attempt to suppress the vote.

Hopefully we can all take a deep breath now and discuss what steps should be taken to fix what is broken.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2008 11:41 AM

The rallying cry in 2000-2001 was "do away with the electoral college! Popular votes!". Then Kerry lost the popular vote in 2004, and that kind of quieted down. Now it appears to have been silenced. Just wait till the next time it's close, someone will be back at the "popular vote" drum banging away again.

Posted by: MikeD at November 5, 2008 02:37 PM

Cricket, there are always people in feudalist states that complain about the King's power and privileges. However, when such folks complete a coup de tat, then they don't complain about the privileges of the King for they would be King then.

That's how it is. Tactics, strategy, logistics. If the enemy has an advantage then you need to undermine it and complain about it in productive manners. If you have an advantage, then you must preserve and protect that advantage until you can use it decisively.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 5, 2008 03:45 PM

Not every call for reform at the ballot box is an attempt to suppress the vote.

Not every call to liberate the poor and the downtrodden in the world is a genuine one. Actions will make clear the difference between the genuine article and the fake article (actions like Iraq and Afghanistan).

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 5, 2008 03:47 PM

It was funny how in 2004 Kerry got more respect from us for not contending Ohio with mega legions of lawyers than anything Kerry ever did on the campaign or in Vietnam.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at November 5, 2008 08:23 PM

The potential damage Obama might do to this nation - through things like SCOTUS appointments, for starters - could take generations to undo. I hope for the best but fear the worst over the coming 4-8 years...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at November 5, 2008 10:17 PM

Thanks, Cassandra for the nice note on your post. A great harbinger of the future. Your writing is superb.

Posted by: Miguel at November 6, 2008 12:22 AM

"If there is one good to come from this day, it is that no man nor woman will be able to say with justice that in these United States there is a color barrier at the door of the highest office in the land. All are welcome. All may pass."

Amen to that, sister! No longer will we have to listen to people bellyaching that this country is keeping them down. They might still try to do it...but we will not have to listen. Truth to tell, I grew tired of listening to that stuff years agone...

Posted by: camojack at November 6, 2008 03:53 AM

Well, the election of That One won't stop anti-Americanism and racism. In fact, anti-Americanism and racism will increase during his term and at the end, we'll be back in the 1960s -- all those sissies who voted for That One did Democrats' KKK and European America haters a favor.

It's also remarkable that all political correct white sissies, who got brainwashed by the socialist MSM, believe that the socialist narcist will take care of them. Of course, he will take care of their money.

So, hide your money from That One! Get rid of your credit cards, pay cash, don't give money to charities (only support military men and women), and move your money out of the country -- don't worry, it's legal.

However, the first African-American president will be a Republican.

God bless the servicemen and women, God bless America!

Posted by: 2Cents at November 7, 2008 10:26 PM