Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Congratulations President-Elect Obama

Well, it's finally over. I'm glad. I can't say that I'm thrilled with tonight's election results, although there is a big silver lining. I would have preferred a McCain victory on policy grounds (though Senator McCain was definitely not my first choice for president either), but one thing that I can say wholeheartedly is that I think it a very good thing for the country that the long domination of the American presidency by white males is over. It is time we move beyond that portion of history and that divider of the body politic. It is time that we offered evidence that we are not a nation of bigots. I hope that we have given that proof tonight. I would have liked it better if the first African American president had been a conservative/libertarian type (and also would have liked it better if the gender barrier had been crossed first, given the political persuasions of this particular crop of politicians), but still, it's a milestone we needed to reach.

Ultimately, what a public servant believes and does should be our primary measure of whether they are fit to serve. My hope is that, as time goes on and successful minority and female candidates become ever more common, race and gender will assume less and less of a role in our political consciousness. Though we have not quite reached it, we are approaching that standard with the election of Barack Obama. I may not like his policies, but it is clear that a majority of Americans do. I think there is little denying that race did play a part in his selection, but perhaps it needed to. The fact that so many people wanted passionately to vote for the first black president says something about where we have come as a nation. I would have liked to have been able to share that experience, actually, and would have wholeheartedly if I could have agreed with his perspectives on the role and scope of government.

So, while I cannot be happy tonight that Obama was the African American elected, I can be glad that as a country we have crossed the racial divide and that any African American was elected president at all. I look forward to all of us reaching the point where a candidate's policies and political philosophy are the only things we evaluate as we make our electoral choices, not their race, religion, gender or any of the other things that senselessly divide us from one another. On the road that gets us to that elevated place, someone had to take us a step further in that direction. Our nation has selected Barack Obama to be that person. So, congratulations President-Elect Obama. May God guide you, and may you govern well.