Thursday, November 6, 2008

Simple Words Of An Observer

I received the following in an email today. The author Sherwin T. Hughes, sent it out as an obvious mass mailing, but I do not know who else received it. I thought that the prose and the thoughts behind it were significant and poignant enough that I wanted to share it.

As an African American man living in the United States, it is very easy to grow increasingly cynical of a country that is often increasingly suspect of you.

This great electoral victory is not just a triumph for African American’s; it is a true national triumph in which we all shall share collectively. Is this Black history? Yes. Is this American history? Absolutely.

An Electoral College landslide and a decisive accumulation of popular votes, equate to a mandate so strong it shall re-write the pages of campaign strategy for the next 100 years.

When placed within the context of American history, this event assumes an even deeper significance. Every bead of sweat dripping from the very brows of tireless marchers for justice, every tear cried and opportunity lost as a result of De facto and De jure, every drop of blood shed during the struggle manifested itself perfectly on the evening of November 4th, 2008. A civil rights movement executed. A dream no longer deferred.

President-elect Barack Hussein Obama has ignited the American spirit in ways not seen in a generation. 21 months ago, I could not fathom that the “skinny kid with a funny name” could oust the Clintons, build a swollen grassroots organization, and turn a bitterly divided nation into a place that has reignited my pride. We can now focus on being great once again. It is for that in which I am most thankful.

Make no mistake; Senator John McCain is a good man. Senator John McCain is an American hero. As evident by his very eloquent concession, he shall continue to be a servant of this nation. I wish he, nor his republican colleagues no ill will. However, I remain ever cautious. For the Republican Party is returning to the proverbial drawing board and will eventually reinvent and rebuild.

Politics aside, this campaign was far more. It kindled our most intrinsic values of hope, optimism. As I celebrated with the best of them into the early morning of November 5th, I saw things that rocked my very core. Streets flooded with jubilant souls, horns honking, banners waving, and an indiscriminate expression of human love. This campaign did something to us – something absolutely divine.

Politics included, this campaign awoke the better angels of the American nature, and as a result, bent the seemingly fixed lines that characterized the political map of red and blue states.

Even though most of us, in the generation of X, have never bore witness to such a monumental testament of the American will for change, the work is not done.

It is the duty of every American, regardless of political stripe or affiliation, to make sure that President-elect Obama does not walk alone. What he needs now is far more tangible than a vote. He needs our hearts, minds, and steadfast will. I stand before you ready to submit all three—with shining pride.

A weak economy, coupled with two wars abroad and a health care crisis, shall take the same determination to resolve as the election took to win. Please pledge with me to commit. As we stand shoulder to shoulder under the direction of a new commander in chief who bears the burden of a nation fractured by eight years of thoughtless policy.

As cliché as these words may be, and as long as they have been a part of my oration, they have never possessed a much more poignant meaning:

“God Bless America”.


  1. The fact that this was a historic election, and an important one for African Americans goes without saying. But landslide, and mandate are two words which should not be used.

    Barack Obama is our President. He did win this election. But I ask you to consider... if John McCain had won the popular vote by the same margin, would you honestly say he had a mandate?

    This country is still very split down the middle regarding political belief. Democrats should stop to consider that before they use their "mandate" with too heavy a fist.

    Stop to consider that despite a current President with the record he has, and the popularity he has, and an economy which we are being told is in trouble, Obama could only muster a 7% victory. That ought to say something about his "mandate" to lead.

  2. In modern electoral politics, a 2% margin of victory is considered decisive. Obama bested that margin by more than 3 times. 364 vs. 163 electoral votes is a margin of 45%. Combined with 7million more popular votes and new seats in the house and senate, seems pretty mandatory to me. However, I am just a simple observer.

  3. Very well stated.
    Regarding a mandate, I would tend to agree since the GOP lost big time. However, it's a lot easier to talk than it is to take action. No matter what Obama and the Democrats do, they are going to tick off someone, be it their base or the opposition. It will be an interesting 2 years when more Democrats senators are up for election and see if the Dem's can still control the House.

  4. Sherwin,

    That dumbs down the definition of decisive. The fact that so many elections these days are close, doesn't mean that a still small victory (even when larger than some in recent history) is decisive.

    It is a continuing signal that the nation is still very divided about the roll of government in our lives. If you try to take advantage of that, you will find that there will be a quick whipsaw in the other direction in 2010 and Congress will no longer be yours.

    Learn the lessons of Rebpublicans in 2004 when some were talking of a "Permanent Republican Majority". Look at what happened 2 years later.

  5. Sorry, Nick, the electoral vote was quite significant.

    However, politics is more or less cyclic, and I would expect at least on of the houses to fall in four, if not two.

  6. Funny... Democrats love the electoral college, except when they hate it. Get your stories straight will you?

  7. Actually, Nick, I don't belong to any political party. I'm just my own self with my own thoughts.