We. Did. It. Like many of you, I watched President-Elect Barack Obama’s acceptance speech with tears in my eyes, overcome with the emotion of that moment. Not just because this historic election broke down barriers of race (which is emotional in itself) but because of my pride in America for believing in change – for voting for hope over fear, unity over division, change over more of the same.
Those of us that are younger have developed such a defeatist attitude about the American political system. After watching two elections that were won by unethical and manipulative political tactics and eight years of failed policies, many of us had lost hope in the American political process. We could not believe that an election could be won decisively solely on the basis that a candidate could inspire people to go to the polls. We could not believe that an election could be won without long, drawn-out Supreme Court cases, state recounts, voter suppression and political platforms that seek to divide us. And yet, this moment in history has reignited the spark in the age-old American ideal that all things can be possible with hard work and determination.
Not only did President-Elect Barack Obama triumph last night. Dignity and integrity won out. Sincere, deeply-rooted, undying hope won out. Sacrifice against all odds won out. The American commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness won out. And the radical notion that everyday people can come together and change the world as we know it won out.
I will always remember this. Minutes after the news networks called Virginia, my father called me. And he said to me, “I never thought it would happen in my lifetime. Maybe your lifetime, but not mine. I just can’t believe it.” And my heart broke instantly because in that moment, I could feel the immense joy of millions across the nation whose faith in the American Dream had been restored.
I don’t know what’s to come. I will not make light the challenges that are before us and the work that’s left to be done in an Obama administration. But finally, the sun has arisen from behind the clouds of fear and apprehension and it’s a new day. And I thank you all for being part of this story. Thank you who believed, who sacrificed time and effort and money, who said “Yes We Can” when others mocked and doubted, and who voted for a better America hope beyond hope. Thank you for reaffirming my faith in America's spirit and promise. May God bless you all and may God bless America.
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cross-posted on Huff Post's OfftheBus