Last night was a huge win for the people of the United States. As I am sure you have heard by now, Barack Obama won the presidential election by an unquestionable margin. He will be the first non-white president this country has seen. States that haven’t voted democratic in a long time voted in favor of Obama. It can truly be said that this was a nationwide election and he was elected by a good cross section of our country.
Many republicans are asking themselves what went wrong, what could McCain have done better, what mistakes they should fix in 4 years. The truth is, they did nothing wrong. Sure, there were some gaffes, but those were not limited to McCain’s campaign. Sure, Sarah Palin was an easy target, but she was not the main reason for their loss either. The reason Barack Obama won is simply because the American people are not happy with the direction the country is headed. If McCain made any mistake, it was that he is associated with George W. Bush’s failed policies. Obama energized the people. He gave them hope, something not seen in a presidential candidate in a very long time. He brought people together. His campaign was truly a grassroots effort. People who had never before been involved with politics were involved in his campaign. People who had always felt left out were excited that they actually had a voice. He reached out to everyone. His campaign was for everyone and involved everyone. It didn’t matter who you were. This campaign was for you. This is not just a victory for Obama and the democratic party. This is a victory for the American people, for everyone. Nothing John McCain could have done would have stopped this. It’s almost as if GOP supporters feel that presidential campaigns are like some kind of game or sport. It’s as if there are strategies and ways to win, and moves McCain and the GOP could have made that would have pushed him ahead. The truth is, however, that it is not a game. It is not a sport. They sent out the dogs to try to bring down Obama. They pulled every last trick in the book. They told lies and half-truths about him to bring him down. The American people proved that they are sick of dirty politics. Obama ran a clean campaign. He didn’t use any low blows. He didn’t try to attack the character of his opponent. He ran a campaign on the issues. And in taking the high road, he came out on top.
While Obama’s victory was truly a great victory for the United States, there were a few other local issues that were not so great. The states of California, Florida, and Arizona all voted to ban same sex marriage. The state of Arkansas voted to ban same sex couples from adopting. These truly hateful measures show just how far we still need to go to become a country based on true equality.
Other measures that can be applauded are Massachusetts’ measure to decriminalize marijuana, Michigan’s initiatives to allow medical marijuana and stem cell research, Washington’s initiative to allow doctor-assisted suicide, Colorado’s voting against a measure to define human life at the time of conception, and South Dakota’s voting against limiting abortion to cases where the mother’s life is in danger or rape/incest.
All in all, last night was a great night for America and for equality. However, with the ballot measures that passed in various states, it seemed like a “2 steps forward, 1 step back” kind of deal. One can only hope for the future. Barack Obama’s victory last night offers just that… hope.