Reflections on victory

I must confess, I am starting to write this entry Monday night with the assumption that Barack Obama will win the election. If he doesn’t, or if it is a drawn-out ordeal like in 2000, well, then this will just be my “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment.

I try not to get caught up in personality politics, and that’s probably why it was so long before I was enthusiastic about Obama. Before I knew about the man and his views, his way of thinking, I knew the hype that constantly surrounded him. Being a hipster deep down inside, I have an instinctive aversion to popular things. I call it the Garden State effect.

But over the course of the primary campaign, I began to see my Senator as someone who understands that there is complexity in every issue, every decision, and every person’s views. He is a pragmatist and a realist, and that’s why I eventually came to support him so strongly. This quote from this summer really shows how thoughtful President-elect Obama can be, even on such a personal issue as religion and its role in politics:

Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all . . . Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what’s possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It’s the art of the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.

I admit I got a little choked up when watching Obama’s acceptance speech. It turns out that anybody really can grow up to become president.

Gosh bless America.

P.S: The Onion has a slightly different perspective: Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job.