Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Yes We Did
Earlier this year, Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten won a Pulitzer Prize for an article about the absence of grace in a subway station. He put internationally acclaimed concert violinist Joshua Bell in a D.C. Metrorail station and watched as most pedestrians—rushing to work, distracted, perhaps too cynical to appreciate beauty in our daily lives—walked right on by. These subway denizens had an opportunity to be part of something truly extraordinary and they missed it.
Yesterday, the American public had their chance for the extraordinary—and they seized it.
I am so proud of my country right now, I can just about burst. We saw what was happening to this nation—the loss of civil rights, the mindless patriotism (which is no kind of patriotism at all), the isolationism, the impediments to medical and scientific progress, the corporate greed, the kind of neglect of our own that leads to a monstrosity like Hurricane Katrina—and we said, “Hell no, that ain’t us.”
Readers of this blog know that I supported Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. And I still love and respect Senator Clinton, but I now realize that I was wrong. It’s not that Hillary isn’t formidable, impressive, an agent of real change herself—but she isn’t what this country needed.
We needed Barack Obama. To the people who say that America is racist and jingoistic, that we only elect white men with last names like Bush and Clinton and Reagan—we showed them who we really are. To people who say that we are cocky cowboys who don’t want to be part of a global community—we showed them the truth. To people who say that we are easily swayed by the politics of fear and divisiveness—we said, no, not us.
Barack Obama is exactly what this country needs at this pivotal moment in history. He’s a genuine agent of hope, of change, of real progress. An extraordinary man needed for extraordinary (and extraordinarily challenging) times. We didn’t let the moment pass us. We weren’t too cynical, too narrow-minded. We said, Yes We Can.