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Why Barack Obama is, and always will be, My President

11/07/08

Like it or not, for anybody who like me, voted in their first Presidential Election on Tuesday, Barack Obama, come January 20th, 2009, will become then, and forever, our President.

I’m among those who voted for him, so the connection I’ll have with the new President Elect sits well with me, and though it may not sit as well for those who didn’t, there is a much greater relationship to be had with Obama, regardless.

What I mean when I refer to Obama as our President is that for the rest of our lives, the young people who took part in this election as first time voters will always be associated with having Barack Obama as the very first President of this country they played some role in electing.

I understand that there plenty of first time voters who didn’t vote for Obama, however the association will always remain, and even if you didn’t vote for him, I find it hard to believe that anybody will overlook the significance in his victory and the role they were able to play in it.

The 2008 election will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most historic in the history of this country.

This election will be forever linked to the fact that Barack Obama is of course the first ever black man to hold this nation’s highest executive office; however this election will always be remembered for its record voter turnout, a big part of which was the youth vote.

The Obama campaign did a masterful job of connecting with the younger voters, really revolutionizing political campaigns. His campaign team utilized this modern technological age we live in to make sure that young people who in the past have been traditionally apathetic when it comes to voting would no longer feel such indifference.

The big knock among young voters was our resignation to the idea that our vote didn’t matter.  Well, that became a notion that was loudly put to rest in the 2008 election as 68% of new voters voted for Obama.

Make no mistake, young people played a very significant part in the victory of Barack Obama, who for a number of reasons really captivated the imagination of people at or around my age (21).

Part of it was his own age in comparison to that of his opponent. The fact John McCain, 72, at times appeared very out of touch with today’s culture didn’t serve him well. And putting technology aside for a moment, to symbolize how out of touch McCain may be couldn’t have been made clearer by the crowd and their reaction during his concession speech. Aside from the despicable booing when Obama’s name was mentioned, how many African American’s were you able to find in that crowd?

Barack Obama and his campaign team really made a difference with the younger voters by proving he was very much in touch with how the world works in 2008, utilizing television, the internet and even cell phones.

From Facebook to his television infomercial to appearances on The Daily Show, Obama made sure that wherever young people were looking, they would be seeing his face and his message of change.

And in talking about his constant preaching of change, what better way to get the attention of first time voters and young people by telling them that not only could their votes matter in simply choosing a President, but if they were to choose him, they would be an vital part of making sure changes were made.

I can’t really describe it any other way, but Obama was also a more trendy choice.

If you were at a store choosing which cell phone you wanted to upgrade your plan with, John McCain was the equivalent of one of those big, bulky car phones that first came out way back when, the ones that never actually left the car and often didn’t work the way you wanted them to. Barack Obama was the iPhone. He offered a chance to do things that (at least during the last eight years) we never really figured could be done before.

I bring all of this up because I couldn’t be prouder to know that I was among that contingency of young voters who have fulfilled our civic responsibility and voted.

I’ll likely live long enough to vote in another 15 Presidential elections, however as is often the case with anything in life, the experience will likely never measure up to the first time.

The election of Barack Obama, who, for whatever my reasons, was my candidate.

And for the rest of my life, despite the fact I’ll vote and decide the fates of other Presidential hopefuls, because he was the first candidate I voted for, and because he was the first candidate whose political fate I helped decide, Barack Obama is and always be My President.

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November 7, 2008 Posted by | Election '08 | , , , | Leave a comment

President-Elect Barack Obama’s Victory Speech

11/6/08

Below is the victory speech given by President-Elect Barack Obama, with both video and transcipt.

As is usually the case with Obama, his speech was inspiring, uplifting and provided hope that America can now move on following the election and unite as a country in tackling the steep hill of challenges we face.

I know I’m not alone in sharing this sentiment, but wasn’t this man just born to be a public speaker?

Enjoy.

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 very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends… though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Election '08 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes He Did! Obama Elected; History Made

11/5/08

Yes he did.

Last night was one of the moments that Americans and citizens of the World will likely remember for the rest of their lives.

It had just struck 11 p.m. on the east coast, and the announcement was made: Barack Obama was projected as the winner of the 2008 general election.

I bet I’m not alone when I say that when I went to sleep after watching President Elect Obama’s victory speech, as well as when I woke up this morning that I was immediately living in a new America.

Sure, President Bush will serve out the remaining 11 weeks of his Presidency before Obama is inaugurated in January; however there is a sense of both joy and hope that comes with the election of the first African American President in the nation’s history.

Along with his running mate, the democratic senator from Delaware Joe Biden, Obama will officially take office on January 20th, 2009.

I realized that last night, Barack Obama became my generation’s Jackie Robinson; in breaking both a social and political color barrier that many had figured would never be broken.

I realized that last night, Barack Obama also became my generation’s John F. Kennedy; a young, inspiring politician whose victory gives this country some much needed promise heading towards a major crossroads in its history. It’s been some time since the younger generation was so inspired by a Presidential candidate, but like Kennedy, Obama will be an iconic figure of a political youth movement.

And I realized this morning that last night, Barack Obama reignited the spirit of what makes this country so great, which is that democracy can still triumph, while anything truly is possible.

In regards to Senator John McCain, who delivered a stirring concession speech following the announcement of Obama’s projected victory, was both gracious and selfless, stating that while he and his now former opponent may not agree on all issues, he was looking forward to working for and with his new President elect in making sure the United States of America gets back on track.

I’m no political expert; however it isn’t difficult to figure out that McCain’s defeat was as much due to the discontent with the last eight years as it was to anything McCain was trying to promise for the next four.

In addition, one can’t help but wonder how McCain’s campaign would have turned out had he selected a different running mate, a decision that ultimately was his and is one he may one day look back on and regret making.

Governor Sarah Palin from Alaska was tapped as the Republican nominee for Vice President, and certainly sparked a renewed interest from her own party; however it may have come at the cost of victory.

Palin performed miserably during early interviews, and was involved in a number of off-the-ballot issues, among them her daughter’s teenage pregnancy.

Ultimately, her questionable domestic executive experience as well as her nonexistent foreign policy knowledge probably brought her ticket down considerably.

If nothing else though, the republican ticket provided us with some great entertainment thanks both during interviews and debates while fictionally on Saturday Night Live.  (Congrats to Tina Fey who can finally get some sleep now)

Following a long and tedious campaign season, America took to the polls yesterday in record numbers, and spoke loudly and clearly that they wanted to find out if all the change that had been promised to them by the new President elect would in fact become a reality.

Obama didn’t just win an election, he dominated it.

While the popular votes was relatively close, a 52%-47% advantage for Obama, he blew out McCain in the electoral college, securing 338 electoral votes McCain’s 163 as of early this morning, with three states still too close to call.

How did he do it?

Pundits agreed last night that Obama ran one of if not the most impressive Presidential campaign in history, reaching out to hoards of different voters, all of whom seemed to respond to the prospect of change Obama pledged throughout the campaign process.

Heading into last night before any of the polls had officially closed, Obama had seemed to have a mathematical edge with electoral votes, however McCain was given a fighting chance with upwards of 90 electoral votes that were made up of swing states Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Montana and North Dakota.

In addition, McCain’s advisers repeatedly stated how important it was for the Arizona Senator to win Pennsylvania, which we would eventually fail to do.

The loss in PA was the first real blow McCain would take last night; however it would also turn out to be a sign of things to come.  Both Ohio and Florida, with 48 electoral votes between them, landed in the lap of Obama.  When the polls closed at 8 p.m. local time on the West Coast, California’s 55 electoral votes along with the announcement that Virginia went blue allowed the official projection of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

It was an exciting night if you’re a democrat or just an overall Obama supporter, however on a greater scale it was one of the most significant events in the 232 year history of this country.

The election of an African American to the country’s highest political office was perhaps a final knockout blow in the ongoing civil rights movement that still unfortunately has lingered more than a half-century after it started back in the 1950’s.

What is more impressive than his victory, is the fact that Obama looks to move forward not as the first black President, but simply as the nation’s President, eager to take on the challenges that await his early days in office.

For one night, it was easy to forget that this country finds itself in severe economic turmoil, while still at war over seas.  There is an ongoing environmental threat which will also demand the attention it’s been denied throughout much of the last eight years.

Regardless of who you voted for, any American who can’t appreciate how monumental last night’s victory for Barack Obama is needs to re-examine their beliefs in the ideals of the country they live in.

You may not like him, but if you have to respect what the new President Elect was able to accomplish on his road to the White House.

Obama’s inexperience is noteworthy, and will likely be sticking point for his critics heading into his Presidency.  However, to rise as quickly as he did in the American Political arena proves the land of opportunity we’ve always read about in textbooks was validated last night.

I can honestly say that although I may be young (21), I have never felt the rush of excitement I did yesterday, first in making my inaugural trip to the voting booth, and secondly when watching the announcement that Obama had been elected President.

I’ll also admit that I did in fact vote for Obama, although mainly because I had felt he was simply the lesser of two evils, as neither candidate had appealed much to me through the campaign.

And even upon his election, I’m wary of just how much change Obama can make, and whether or not he’ll be able to pull this country out the hole it’s dug itself into.

But I can tell you that no matter how much or how little I may support his ideas, I could not be prouder as an American citizen this morning, knowing that our democratic process worked, and produced a winner of historic proportions. Being able to take part in that, as simple as pulling that lever was- was pretty powerful.

Come January, when officially sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama will venture off on what President Bush referred to last night as “one of the great journey’s of life” in his congratulatory phone call following the announcement of Obama’s victory.

Obama will lead this country’s citizens into the next frontier of what is right now a great unknown for the United States of America.

I’ll finish with an excerpt of Obama’s victory speech he gave in Chicago last night:

“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.”

America can celebrate now, but must get back to working on restoring the potential and prominence this country is capable of achieving.

As American citizens, we can now only hope we selected the right man to lead us there, and if you ask Barack Obama whether or not we’ll get there, I have a feeling his answer would sound something like this:

“Yes we can.”

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Election '08, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment