Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One Giant Step

We did it.

We fought. We hoped. We worked. We cried. We panicked. We debated. We held our breath. But after a 21 month campaign and eight years of sorry leadership and squandered opportunity, we did it. It's not hyperbolic to say that we helped shift the course of the world.

America has just elected a president who built his campaign out of millions of individual voices. Ours. You can almost say the country elected a movement. Barack Hussein Obama (Will they use his whole name at the inauguration?) inspired you, me and so many people we know, to get up, get involved and get into it.

So now what?

We will bask in the celebratory glow for a few days, maybe weeks. And then get excited again as we approach January 20th and the pomp and circumstance that consumes the moment. But I know that over the coming days and weeks, life will also go on, just as it did in the months leading up to the election. What we do individually, and collectively, will determine how radical a departure we make from the past. Obama can only successfully preside over a willing constituency. How committed we are to substantive change beyond blackening a circle in a ballot will define how great the next chapter in American history is.

There will be no vacuum in the National conversation. Somebody will step up to fill any vacancies in dialogue, or breaches in momentum. It could be an ally or a foe. Might be somebody with a shared vision, or an advocate for the polar opposite. If we're lucky, it will be a more unifying and collaborative faction. If history shows us anything, chances are it won't.

Any forward action will demand continued engagement by anybody who showed up to the polls to cast a vote. And even by those who—unbelievably—sat this one out. For them, and for all of us, the next chapter is as important as the first. It won't have nearly the ceremony or pageantry as this round, but it will be just as urgent. And it's where we will really see what we're made of.

Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/The New York Times


Brad Barrish said...

Damn right, we did it! Thanks for providing a lot of great reading material and thoughtful coverage. I look forward to reading more.

Joey said...

We totally did.