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.”