Friday, November 07, 2008


A good friend of mine recently canvassed a nearby battleground state for Barack Obama. Today I congratulated him on the effort, remarking that we had done it. He then, in a phrase, captured what I believe to be the essence of what this victory means to so many Americans.

"Now I can travel overseas and not have to lie and tell people I'm Canadian."

He was joking, of course. Kind of. I think.

The fact is, the last 8 years - and in particular the last 4 - have represented an embarrassing stretch for Americans. We haven't been admired, respected, or appreciated by our friends around the globe...and with good reason. Sanctioning torture. Revoking civil liberties. Preemptive, unilateral military strikes founded on manufactured intelligence and hunches. Wiretapping. We've been viewed as fat, lazy, greedy, hostile, spiteful, vengeful bullies with massive chips on our shoulders and a Patrick Swayze approach to foreign policy.

It's my way or the highway. Clearly we haven't been taking the "high" way.

Most people around the globe don't hate the American people - but they do detest our policies. And those policies (fair or not) have been largely attributed to our dictator in chief - President Bush. The shift away from his party signaled to the world that the American people soundly reject what Bush has done...both at home and abroad. Each vote for Obama added to the momentum of a massive movement - the national reclamation of our dignity.

And so my friend had it exactly right - joking or not. With the election of Obama, we don't have to hang our heads in shame for our witless, bumbling chief executive. We can be a proud people again, confident in the abilities of our chosen leader.

At least until inauguration day when his mettle is put to the test. Then all bets are off. The economic deck is stacked against him.

The naysayers are already calling for his impeachment - indeed there are Facebook groups already dedicated to the cause months from inauguration. There are miserable millions still suffering the agony of defeat and declaring their discord with the usual statements of defiance. He's not MY president. He doesn't represent ME.

Oh, but he does. And if you give the man some time, and cut the guy some slack, you may just find yourself thankful for it. We have, on a single day, in a single election, restored the faith of the world community in our collective judgment as a nation. Further, we demonstrated in the most meaningful of ways, that we remain qualified to lead by the power of example.

Heck - maybe Canadians traveling abroad will even lie and say they're Americans. I am joking of course. Kind of.


Here's a very cool link to some behind-the-scenes photography of Barack Obama on election night. These pics do a great job capturing the emotion and anticipation of a historic moment in time.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


It has been quite remarkable hasn't it? All of this excitement over a Presidential Election? I can't remember a time when the entire country was this energized over politics. I'm too young to remember the Kennedy/Nixon throwdown, but I hear that's the best comparison to what's been going on now.

It's encouraging. It means people care again. We feel like our votes matter. We want our voices heard. We feel there's someone we can connect with.

I actually know people, for the first time in my life, who traveled to nearby battleground states to knock on doors. I know people who made phone calls to undecided voters from their homes. I actually donated hard-earned money to TWO political candidates this year (and I was only related to one of them). People are investing their time and money in politics like never before. Americans are stoked.

I'm watching news coverage now and everywhere in America there are long lines out the door - people prepared to wait for hours to be counted. They're not downtrodden or frustrated - they're upbeat and optimistic. They're proud to finally be fighting for (or against, in many cases) something they sense is big.

And isn't it big? A country that has symbolized opportunity for well over 200 years with an African American poised to become President, or a woman Vice President. History in the making, regardless of who ends up on top. No wonder so many people are turning out to be a part.

As of this morning, nearly everyone I know (well) has voted. I'd guess half of them were Bush supporters at one time who are solidly behind Obama now. People whose combined household incomes may break the Obama tax increase threshold are punching his name because they believe, in principle, with the direction he wants to take this country. Even my dear mom, who once supported the proud isolationist Pat Buchanan (bless her heart), admitted that she "may" have voted for Obama. Now that truly is remarkable.

As for me, I'm just thrilled to see so many people participating. The opportunity for millions and millions of people to select their own leader is one of mankind's greatest accomplishments. It wasn't always like this, remember. The democratic process is a relatively new deal. And we're still working on it.

The early voting thing is proof of that. It's about time they figured out a way to involve more people in the process. Holding elections on a cold, often wet, November day in the middle of the work week probably wasn't the best way to encourage participation. But it served its purpose while it lasted, which was to benefit entrenched power. Sure made it harder for those meddlesome working class people to have a voice. But that voice is being heard now - loud and clear.

As for me, I'm glad the entire thing is finally coming to an end. Or, as I think back to the electoral debacle of 2000, must I ask myself, "Is it?" Let's hope we can avoid a replay of that ugly scene.

At least I didn't make the same mistake this year that I did in 2004 when I found out the "hard" way that the first Tuesday in November is ELECTION day, not erection day. Talk about your embarrassing moments. Officials at the polling place were NOT impressed.

Monday, November 03, 2008


According to a report on CNN, Vice President Dick Cheney's hometown newspaper just named Obama their presidential pick. In case you forgot, Dick is from Wyoming...gun country. Brokeback red state. Rodeo central. What I like best is what the paper wrote in endorsing the Democrat. Big thumbs up for the Casper-Star Tribune.

"It is a foregone conclusion that Wyoming's three electoral votes will go to Sen. John McCain. It would be easy for the Star-Tribune to simply agree with the majority of voters in this red state and endorse the Republican candidate for president.

"But this isn't an ordinary election, and Sen. Barack Obama has the potential to be an extraordinary leader at a time we desperately need one."

"If the John McCain of 2000 saw today's counterpart, he wouldn't recognize himself...McCain is no longer a GOP maverick, or the war hero whose principles were unwavering. He has flip-flopped on issues ranging from tax cuts to torture in an effort to win over the conservative base of his party. He has waged a dismal campaign based on fear and divisiveness."

Damn. No love


In case you haven't seen it, this Get Out the Vote clip is great. Lot of Hollywood brass came out for this - and it's not a Obamamercial like you might think. It's simply a message to Vote.

Check it out.