Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith."
- Sen. Jon Kyl, quoting 2 Timothy 4:7

A very disappointing evening tonight to those of us who supported John McCain's presidential campaign. Obama has made history as the first American of African heritage to be elected president.

McCain's concession speech was as gracious as it was eloquent, and as touching. Unlike his Democrat predecessors in the '04 and '00 elections, McCain called for his supporters to stand behind Obama, to put partisanship behind them, and to work with the president-elect instead of working against him. It was a class act, yet another example of the patriotic selflessness typical of McCain, and perhaps the last major action of his political career. Certainly, at 72, this was McCain's last presidential campaign.

How did Obama do it? By persuading enough voters that he was the person they were looking for as president. I won't go into the merits of Obama's campaign, or his positions; this is his night and he has earned it. I do agree with McCain that the election of a Black man is clearly a sign that, in American, opportunity is not dependent upon one's race or economic background... and that is a good thing. In fact, I can't help but wonder if this spells the end of Affirmative Action; clearly no one can argue that minorities are unduly handicapped by the fact of their race.

Unlike the reaction of most Democrats eight years ago, who angrily proclaimed "Bush is not MY president!" Republicans must accept the will of the voters and our new president. It's the only way we can, hopefully, move beyond the partisan politics that have made honest discussion of serious issues impossible not only in Washington but throughout the country. Obama is our president, and America is our country. Yes, Republicans need to hold Obama accountable but they also need to work with Democrats.

At any rate, I know that Obama's treatment by his political opponents will be far more respectful and positive than Bush's treatment by the Democrats. And, as an American, I hope that Obama can be effective as president, and that he performs well in office. His biggest obstacle will not be the Republicans, it will be the extremists in his own party... and Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al will not be able to blame Republicans for their failures. He certainly has his work cut out, what with the financial crisis, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the certain challenges that will be thrust upon him by our adversaries. As Biden pointed out, Obama will be tested, and for America's sake I hope he passes.

So, I wish you the best of luck and I wish America great success during your term, Mr. Obama. And, I hope you have the grace and humility to govern wisely and effectively, for our country's sake.

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