I have been thinking a great deal recently about this election. Actually, I've been thinking about it ever since the American people lost their senses and re-elected George W. Bush in 2004. Really people, what were you thinking?
Anyhizzle, after much deliberation, soul searching and prayer I know I am ready to vote. But is the country ready for the results? Let me elaborate.
I believe that Barack Obama will be elected tonight thus ushering in a potential paradigm shift in the American pysche. Don't get me wrong, I waited 8 years to vote for John McCain, but the real John McCain never showed up. Because of the reality of party politics, McCain had to do things that I believe were contrary to who he really is as a man. The John McCain of this campaign is not worthy of the American he is in truth. The John McCain of this campaign is some sort of Roveian manifestation of necessity that I'm certain McCain regrets.
When Barack Obama is elected tonight, I'm guessing in an electoral vote landslide, the hopes of many in the nation will be on him. After all, he campaigned on the word. But given the unique nature of his victory, will we be ready for it? If what this candidate has been saying for two years is true, if Americans believe his message, it would suggest an optimism not seen since the election of 1960. Are we as a people still that optimistic or has the reality of globalization and corporate politics in the last half century made us collectively cynical?
Let me qualify my remarks. As a believer in Christ Jesus, my hope and faith is in no man or woman to save our nation and world. No candidate is ideal, Christ has our salvation covered and then some.
Having said that, I am one of the most ardent followers of political discourse I know. The election of Barack Obama does not mean that he would heal the world as some of his critics have joked about. I think the guy is smart enough to know that or even claim it as he is accused of doing. I don't know if he really is a Christian as he says, but I think he would know his own limitations and God's limitlessness. His presidency however, would be pregnant with significance for a varity of reasons. Chief among those is not his being black, but rather with the expectations that America could actually live up to its highest ideals articulated in our founding documents. Is this possible? We have seen glimpses of this potentiality in the past, but these episodes are brief and growing faint with the passage of time.
In a very secular sense I sincerely hope that such a thing is possible. I have taught my students for years that the United States is the only country in human history thus far born not out of language, ethniticity or history, but founded on an idea. That ideal has never been fully realized, but has shown movements in fits and starts throughout our brief national history toward that end. Obama's election would indicate one of the, if not the biggest leap toward our best aspirations.
To expect so much from a man would be too much. What scares me more is that in electing this candidate we would be declaring as a nation that we expect such things from ourselves as well. Are were so collectively fatally flawed as not to really be up to the task? I question our national ability to sacrafice, be inconvenienced and be willing to be our brother's keeper in paying more of our own treasure. Are we prepared to be the people we said we were going to be 232 years ago?
Are we ready to have the greatest of expectations for ourselves as a people? If we are not, we have not a President to blame, but the person staring at us in the mirror.
As a political junkie I will be watching things closely tonight, and so will the rest of the world.