Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Please Share Your Thoughts

I'd love to hear what some of you think about last night and/or what you expect for the next four years.

Say as much or little as you'd like. Multiple paragraphs or mere statements like "I'm happy" or "I'm disappointed" are welcome - whatever you'd like. I know that some that read this blog are highly skeptical of Obama - your perspective is welcome and very valuable.

If I can't talk you into making a comment here, please write down your thoughts somewhere while they are still fresh. Someday, your children or grandchildren will probably ask you about this event.


I hope you saw Obama's speech last night. You can read it here.

My favorite parts:

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change...

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.


Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.


And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared....

To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope...

That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call.

As Emerson once said, the ancestor of every action is a thought. These are just thoughts, but they are the right ones...


Amanda said...


Your thoughts are always so eloquently portrayed here. Thank you.

I had a very difficult time deciding for whom I would vote. I am a "staunch independent" :).Both major candidates had my respect and I felt that either could effectively fill the role of President. All of that said, I find myself feeling both excited and cautious. The people of the USA have made a strong statement of wanting change with this election. I can only hope that we are, indeed, ready and willing to remain independent thinkers. It has been so easy to become absorbed in the excitement and momentum of the past two years that I have, at times, wondered if the mob mentality had taken hold of us. I enjoyed hearing the ideals of both candidates and wondering how they would apply to my community. Coming from a healthcare and research background made the platforms very intense for me. Some things angered me and others left me thinking, "Yeah right". I could agree philosophically with some statements, but utterly disagree at the same time for practical implications.
For me, ultimately, there was no easy choice for President. Even as I approached my ballot I remained undecided on this single issue. I just had to follow my heart.

Anonymous said...


This article sums up one of the main reasons that I decided to cast my vote for Obama. He is seen around the world as someone who inspires hope in people. He offers change and is already being accepted across the world as America's liberator. Not liberator in the sense that Bush said we would be welcomed as after we invaded Iraq, but a liberator of ill-will from abroad and within, negative diplomatic relations, and a misunderstanding of the American Dream that breeds a contagious hatred by those who do not share our ideals.

The world, literally, the entire world was watching this election. In my opinion, voting McCain into office would have sent a message to the world that we are not going to change and you can continue to hate us. By electing Obama, Americans, foreign governments, and citizens of the world are seeing America for what it truly is: a nation of opportunity. His election will spark a fire in many of America's youth to follow their dreams and better themselves. After all, if he can do it, why can't you?

In some ways Obama could potentially be like the Great Communicator Ronald Reagan himself. Reagan was a great man who was able to connect with Americans both young and old. They saw hope in him…similar to the hope that many Americans see in Barrack. With any luck he can use that hope to reunite America and stop the divisions that infect us as a nation. I think if anyone can do it, it's him. Look at the positive energy in the rallies and small town speeches that he gave. Obama supporters are passionate about him. How many times did someone come up to you and truly and passionately tell you how great John McCain would be for America?

Sorry for the longwinded explanation. I just thought that you might want to know what was going through my mind as I stood in front of the voting machine casting my ballot.


Unknown said...


Thanks for providing this opportunity. I echo many of the points made by the other posters, but let me add something I think is a seldom made point about Barack Obama as President of the United States. Many folks criticize Obama’s thin resume and remark that he is only a good speaker. My response of late has been, so what? In a sense, much of the President’s job is talking. The President meets with people all day long and talks to them about what they are going to do to fulfill the President’s agenda. In effect, being a powerful communicator is the job of the President.

My reaction to last night was as follows. I often think about the Civil War as being the last battle of the American Revolution because the country finally dealt with the 800lb gorilla in the room – slavery.

In many ways, Obama’s victory acts in a similar way. It wasn’t a battle or a war. I don’t know what to liken it to – the last Civil Rights march doesn’t sound right. I think it is the fulfillment of the American Dream, more than a fulfillment . . . it is proof of the American Dream. It is proof that we practice what we preach. It is not to say that Obama’s victory was the only proof, or that Obama’s victory is the only American Dream fulfilled, but there is something that his win offers about what American is and has been, that has heretofore not been done.


Lisa said...

I, too, was grateful and inspired by Obama's call to our country to summon a new spirit of sacrifice. I grew up in the U.S. as part of a generation of excess and I think we were starting to think we were entitled to it. So I appreciate President-Elect Obama's leadership in that direction.

I think there are some in this country and abroad who think that those of us who voted for Senator Obama believe he walks on water and can do no wrong. But I think most of us know the realities of governing and leadership. I read an article in Time Magazine that summed it up perfectly: the winner is sucked through a wormhole back into the real world in which Congress writes laws and the budget and where interest groups abound. Presidents are always faced with a less than ideal world when it comes to leadership but that's just the nature our democracy. It can be tough, dirty and mean.

I am under no illusions of gradeur that President Obama will turn stones into loaves of bread.
I just think he is the best person in our time to take on this challenge. I feel privileged that I was able to cast this historic ballot...and I hope I will be as excited in four years to do it again.

Unknown said...

I'm thrilled that Obama won the election. I confess here, more for the others than for Jared (who already knows this), that I was worried about whether the country would see that this was what we needed, would get past his name and his race, and would steer us back toward being a great nation once again. I'm very glad that the American people have seen the light.

I'm disappointed at the passage of California Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to end gay marriage. I hoped that Californians would not be so short-sighted. Baby steps, I guess. Similar measures that passed in other states, including the Arkansas ban on adoption by gay couples, also saddened me, even if they didn't entirely surprise me.

But overall, it was a happy Election Day for me and, hopefully, the beginning of a bright new chapter in the story of America. I'm looking forward to the next four years.

Anonymous said...

I spent the last 3 days of the race in Pennsylvania helping to get out the vote for Obama. It was such a privilege to spend this historic moment in the midst of millions of Americans, from all different walks of life, demonstrating in actions the ideals that are the whole essence of this movement. Anyone who questioned or continues to question the substance of this Obama’s calls for change need only spend one hour in the midst of this campaign to see that change isn’t a goal for the future that we hope Obama can deliver. The beginning of change has already happened. Millions of Americans mobilized to put actions to the eloquent words Obama has motivated us with. We are already, to paraphrase Gandhi, being the change we wish to see. We have already proven: this is not "all rhetoric."

The second thing that I find most phenomenal about this race is that it was never about “the first African American president.” What a victory that he won because he will provide exceptional leadership for this country. His race is merely a side-note...a monumental victory no doubt…but not the defining characteristic of his candidacy or his presidency.

And finally, after 9/11 the president had more of a mandate than ever before: the entire international community at our side, every American begging to take action to serve their country in some way, even some of our enemies falling into line. We squandered it all. And yesterday, the unimaginable happened…a second chance. The world once again stood up beside us and rallied around us. Americans were moved beyond words and spurred to action, reminded of what defines us as a nation, what is the core of how we even came to be as a nation, what inspired the Continental Army to beat the British army against all odds...this relentless belief in the impossible that whatever you aspire too, you can achieve and the fundamental right to freedom and equality. Many countries have had and will have revolutions and other rallying calls to action, but for America this is more than a movement, this is our identity. This is why we even exist as a country in the first place. This is who we are and we remembered that yesterday. If you were on the streets of Manhattan, you could literally hear the city cheering. The time is now. We have the world at our side, an exceptional leader at the helm, a people inspired and motivated to act. We must act now.

“For the rest of my life I will remember that in no other country on earth is my story even possible.” President-elect Barack Obama

Unknown said...

Sarah Palin once asked, "What does a community organizer do?" Now we know. He develops the skills needed to run the most dramatic and successful presidential campaign in the history of our nation.

I wanted to vote for Barack Obama, not because he is more handsome, charming and intelligent than his opponent (even though he's all three), but because I wanted to place my full support behind the first African American ever to become president of the United States. Still, he was by far the most liberal of the Democratic candidates and, ultimately, John McCain felt like a "safer" choice. That said, I'm enormously proud of my country and the incredible strides we have made in my lifetime. Even more, I'm grateful that President-elect Barack Obama, at a time when he could have focused on the victory and the celebrations that followed, chose instead to focus on me -- saying, "I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voice, I need your help, and I will be your president, too."

You wrote a post a few years ago, Jared, titled, "W Could Have Been One of the Greats." Even though he provided comfort to our nation in the days following 9/11, true wisdom has seemed to elude him. From the very beginning of his second term, half our nation failed to support him. Perhaps he didn't deserve our support. But this I do know. I will support Barack Obama. It will be my privilege to pray for him every single day -- both for safety (for him and his precious wife and daughters) and for wisdom.

I take him at his word that we have never been "just a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America." I am genuinely optimistic that Barack Obama will finally be the one to provide the bold and extra- ordinary leadership that our nation so very much desires and deserves.

Dr. Goddess Mommy said...

"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all."

-Emily Dickinson

Justin said...

I've been thinking for days what to write here Jared. I wished and wished that I had read more poetry through my life, so perhaps the right words would come to me, but I didn't and they haven't. Hopefully a better person than I will be able to sum up in a few well-chosen words what last Tuesday night was like for me.

This is my second draft at this. The first one just went on and on, so I'll try to shorten this one. Let me just say that I had been pulling for Obama since I saw him give the 2004 Keynote speech at the Democratic convention. Even with that long hope, as I sat there on Tuesday night watching CNN I was surprised at the amount of emotion swelling up inside me as he got closer and closer to winning.

When CNN declared him the winner and they showed all those people, of every race and background, celebrating together, how could I not be overcome with that emotion. THEN, when I started seeing the reactions of people from around the world how could I not be overcome with joy. A joy that stayed with me well through the next day as I heard story after story of old African Americans with direct links to slavery get to vote for a black President.

I am extremely proud of our country, the ONLY one where this could have happened, for taking such a bold step toward fulfilling the promise that is America. And I am extremely proud of the role our generation played. The generation that is paying the bills for and fighting this war that our parents/grandparents generation said was important enough to send people to die for, but not important enough to pony up the money for or make any other sacrifice for, until now. They too answered Obama's call for shared sacrifice. I am proud of them too.

(and yes, this was the short version)

- Justin

Matt F. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt F. said...


Thank you for providing the opportunity for us to express ourselves. This is a wonderful turning point for our nation and for the world.

Like many other Americans I began my support for Obama the day he announced his candidacy in Springfield. We went through thick and thin, good times, difficult times, but we did it. Some of the positive feelings and thoughts I experienced the night of November 4th reminded me of when I was a boy, when I had a blind faith that my country would always do right and was always on the side of good - long before I learned to criticize and to question, to be skeptical of what motivated us as a nation and as a government to choose the paths we've chosen. But on this night, as I looked out on all of those excited Americans gathered in Chicago, young and old, black and white, Asian, Hispanic, I realized that I felt that feeling again. I was proud. Proud of my country, proud of my brothers and sisters, proud of all of those who stood up and demanded a new direction. I saw all those faces and thought "this is the 'real America.'" We are the ones that will guide America into the new century, a century unlike any other. We are the ones at the helm, we are the ones that will navigate our great nation through the difficult waters ahead.

Jared, I remember your dad once shared with me how he felt when we landed on the moon. He explained that at no other time in his life did he feel such unity as a nation, such excitement to have a common purpose around which all Americans could stand together. The way your dad told his story always inspired me. And on the night Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America, as I watched states like Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, Indiana, Colorado, New Mexico, and all the others that went to Obama, I felt that unity. I felt that we were a nation standing together, with a common purpose and a common desire for a new direction.


Let me close with a few lines from one of my favorite poets:

Become the sky
Take an axe to the prison wall
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color


Jared said...

Thanks so much to all of that took the time to write (and also to anyone else that stops by and reads from time to time).

If anybody else stumbles on to this post in the future and wants to add a few words, please feel free to contribute.