Last night, I watched as America overwhelmingly put their confidence in Barack Obama, electing him the 44th president of the United States of America.  Now, I could carry on for some time about what that means to me, as I’ve done before, I could celebrate the victory, as I’m tempted to do, I could make Sarah Palin jokes, at which I’ve been all too eager to laugh.  But I won’t.  Because, as I listened to Obama’s victory speech last night, I was called to duty as an American to be above that.  I was called to duty to put that aside and focus on uniting.  I was reminded of how I was moved in Feburary of this year.  And then I had a very literal moment of pause as I was suddenly overcome by what we witnessed yesterday. 

President Elect Obama

President Elect Obama

America chose HOPE over HATE.  As rabid Sarah Palin supporters chanted “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!”, Obama calming chided us to be above the name calling.  As Obama painted a picture of peace, neighborly goodwill, and hope, the opposing candidates painted a picture of war, terror, hate, and fear.  They spoke about Obama instead of what their actual plan was.  They spoke about Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright instead of about the issues.  They tried to convice us that Obama is anti-American and that he “pals around with terrorists.”  But it failed.  And their lies and hate became their downfall, as America promptly told them “Yes we can!” 

America chose PEACE over WAR.  Both literally, as we gaze towards Iraq and Afghanistan, but also as we realize that Obama’s television ads – at least here in Florida – were all about repairing the US and what Obama would do about it, while the McCain/Palin ads were almost exclusively negative ads about Obama.   I still know nothing about Sarah Palin other than the pre-packaged crap they wove together for the convention and what we pieced together from her string of embrassing interviews.

America chose COURAGE over FEAR.  Because, although right-wing brainwashers will try to convince you that wanting peace is weak, it takes a much bigger man to say it’s time to end the war in the name of security and bounty for our nation.  Because the enemy you know is always safer than the enemy you don’t.  Because while the Bush administration tried to scare you in conformity and constantly glancing over your shoulder, we know better.  We know that fear will destory us.  

And best of all, America chose HONOR over all else.  It’s no secret that the USA is now hated in many areas across the world.  And frankly, I began to believe that our best days were indeed behind us as we embarked on an impossible mission to “spread democracy,” themed by pre-emptive strike and racial profiling.   But the US is a powerful entity, and we’re not only aiming to reclaim our spot of the #1 place in the world, but also to inspire.   To give people faith. 

We’ve elected a leader who has, I think most will agree, has led one of the most faith-inspiring campaigns in history.  Whether you like his policies or not, he spoke to all Americans and asked them to have a little faith as we seek to rebuild over divided union.  There’s little doubt that his campaign of hope has been incredibly effective and resonated with people who have never voted in their lives. 

I believe Obama will change the world in unbelievable ways.  I believe that we have a charismatic leader the likes of which we haven’t seen since JFK.  I believe the US is ready to put aside the hatred and work together to restore our dignity in world view.  And I hope.

I hope.

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