“God Bless America”

     My most indelible impression was of the middle-aged black woman, in the Chicago park, a moment after Obama was declared the winner, jumping up and down and shouting, “God bless America! God bless America! God bless America!”

     If you had seen how choked up I was, you would not have guessed I had voted for the other guy. But my heart is actually filled with gladness for all the people who so passionately supported Obama — especially African-Americans. I am pretty passionate about my own political beliefs, but I am not one of those who hates the other side. 

     I can’t add anything in verbiage about what a moment this is. But I will say that this is a gigantic blow against cynicism. I actually feel more positive emotion about this outcome than I did in any of the seven presidential elections in which my candidate won. 

     Obama’s speech was a striking contrast with that of Bush eight years ago. I never agreed with those who called Bush a moron — but he sure behaved like one. Eight years ago I watched Bush’s victory speech in stunned disbelief — after an election in which a majority had actually voted against him, he had absolutely nothing to say to that majority. While I do believe that much of the divisiveness we’ve seen was caused by partisan bloody-mindedness against Bush, Bush had set himself up for it. Obama has not made this mistake, and his speech, explicitly, said the kinds of things that Bush so conspicuously failed to say eight years ago. 

     God bless America.

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4 Responses to ““God Bless America””

  1. Craig Goodrich Says:

    This was a fascinating election, on several levels. For one, never has the bias of the media been less subtle; it’ll take them a while to live this down.

    For another, never have the promises of the winner been so obviously vague and evasive, even though as we all know vagueness and evasiveness are the hallmarks of political speech.

    And for yet another, during the campaign we were told repeatedly in apodictic tones that it was not about race (which is, of course, a good thing). Yet, looking at the reactions of many Americans and nearly all foreign commentators, it turns out that it WAS all about race after all.

    I can, off the top of my head, think of at least half-a-dozen black Americans I would just love to see moving into the White House. Mr. Obama is not on the list. But that may be my mistake; we’ll have to wait and see. Not, however, holding our breath…

  2. Kurt Carson Says:

    Frank,

    Are Egyptians or Libyans who have emigrated to the US African-American? Have you ever seen a white guy say he was European-American? ´Black´has only one syllable and is easier to type. It is also more accurate. If we must be literal then of course white and black people do not exist. We are all different shades of cream and chocolate and vino tinto.
    For expediency most refer to others and themselves with the more extreme yet simple descriptions. The phrase African-American has been foisted upon us and I am dismayed to see intelligent people employ this….crap. You could not have possibly been using this descriptor twenty five years ago. Is it an error of fashion?

    FSR response: Actually I used both “black” and “African-American” in obedience to a rule of good writing, to avoid repetition of a word or phrase. However, I believe, generally, in calling people what they want to be called, in basic respect to their human integrity.

  3. Gregory Kipp Says:

    Obama’s win choked me up as well. It says truckloads about how far this country has come in accepting people of all races as equals in society. He should be a much better President than Bush. Bush may not be a moron, but he wasn’t bright enough to be President. Personally, I want the most intelligent, open-minded person I can get for this post. Using the words of Alan Greenspan, Bush was an incurious ideologue and I suspect it was his inability to realistically evaluate issues (as opposed to going with his gut) that led to many of the problems we have now.

  4. Bill Says:

    I am excited about Pres. Obama. I live in NYC and after the election results came in I felt a palpable release of tension in the city.

    People just keep repeating how nice it is to have a president “who can speak.” Maybe they mean someone who speaks with good grammar, but I think they also mean someone who understands how to articulate a direction for the country that is optimistic and that makes them feel good.

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