You all probably knew I would write something about this. If you care not about politics, then you can just skip this.
Yesterday, the people of the United States of America made history in many ways. For the first time ever (excluding 24, of course), there is an African-American president in the United States. This is an amazing feat of which the importance cannot be overstated.
Two hundred years ago, African-Americans were not considered people. They were not considered human beings. They were property and they were treated in ways that are unspeakable. As a people they have fought hard to gain the basic right to be treated as human beings, they have fought hard to be allowed to vote, and they have fought hard to bring down the devisive segregation that existed as recently as 40 years ago. As a people, they have gone from being horribly undervalued and mistreated to sitting in the highest office of arguably one of the most influential countries on this planet.
Despite the social progress in the United States over the past hundred years, there still exists a startling amount of racism and religious fanatasism. While not soley responsible for the outcome, these groups, stuck in harmful, damaging ideolgoies that were rightfully stomped out half a century ago, have been major players in the previous two elections. They were catered to purposefully to secure their votes.
As the Republican campaign slowly collapsed as they avoided issues and doubled back on themselves, and then as it completely imploded when the economic crisis began, it was clear that the party began to specifically target racists, bigots, and the far religious right. They knew that they were the only people they could count on to secure votes. And the tactic work. These groups were embolded and mobilized. The Republican campaign, as an unfortunate side effect, revealed to the world how socially stunted a large majority of the United States remains. In the later stages, it was regular to hear racial slurs being yelled out during speeches about Obama, along with ungrounded proclamations of anyone subscribing to different beliefs being a traitor to the country, or a “terrorist” as it seems popular to call them now. The behavior showcased at a lot of these rallies was downright disturbing at times. Vice President candidate Sarah Palin did nothing to help the Republican image, dividng the United States into a “real America” and a “fake America,” of which the “real” was, apparently, the sole property of the Republican supporters.
In this election, the American people showed that they could focus on issues facing the country. They saw very few solutions or significant changes in the Republican party, something that was crucial for a country coming off of a President with alarmingly low approval ratings who has driven the country into the ground, both with respect to the economy and with respect to the international opinion. The Democrats brought the promise of change. They brought plans that people could hold and feel. They not just said they would be different, but they showed how they would be different.
And the Americans were able to see this. They were able to see the problems and solutions. They were able to put factors such as ethnicity on the backburner and focus on what would be best for the country.
They showed the world that they care about their country. They showed the world that they want to repair the damage that has been done over the last 8 years. They showed the world that they are not run by racists and bigots and religious fanatics. The American people have, in effect, come out and said that they are not happy with the last 8 years and that they’ve been misrepresented.
Obama has been realistic about his role as President. He has not promised quick fixes, and he has openly said he may have to make decisions that might not be popular. He has approached the hole that the Bush administration has dug with realism. It is important that he comes through on most of his promises. And I think he will. I think that this election represents a honest step forward for the United States as a whole, and will end up repairing the United States, benefit it’s neighbors, and begin to repair the country’s international image.