November 8th, 2008
My Dear America:
I got up early Tuesday morning. I was scheduled to hand out literature for Sam Bennett, an attractive young lady running for Congress in the 15th Congressional District in Pennsylvania on the Democratic ticket. Sam was a Leader in the Allentown City and Lehigh County Democratic Committees. I thought she had a good shot at defeating Charlie Dent, a committed Republican Stooge for George Bush in his early term. Charlie had started to vote a little more moderately after the trouncing many Republican members of Congress received in the 2006 election. In that election, Charlie Dent had barely survived a write in challenger with little money and little name recognition. In 2006 Charlie Dent, with the obvious support of the leading local newspaper, The Morning Call, barely recognized that he had an opponent and that opponent almost finished him off. Dent was not going to let that happen this time.
Sam had fought hard and steady during this years campaign to try to get smears out of the election and talk about the issues such as Iraq and the economy. Dent smeared this year like he had never smeared before and on Election night Sam bravely and classily took her bows at The Allentown Brew Works, which was Election Central for the Lehigh County Democrats and then moved to the back of the celebration with her family to deal with what must have been a heartbreaking loss.
But despite Sam's loss there was something else happening that night at the Allentown Brew Works. Democrats, with the exception of Sam, were watching their dreams finally coming true on a wide screen television. It had been a long time since Bill Clinton left the White House and George Bush and his cronies stole the Election in 2000. Disgustingly dirty tricks including obvious vote suppression and pandering to the right wing had brought Bush back for a second term in 2004 to further wreak havoc on the country for four more long and agonizing years.
But that was over on November 4th, 2008. During the last three and a half years George Bush had not only become a Pariah in the Democratic Party but was also Persona Non Grata in his own Republican Pary, as well. Indeed, John McCain, the 2008 standard bearer didn't even want Bush anywhere near the Republican Party Convention in St. Louis, where McCain would be nominated for Republican Presidential Contender.
I had never seen as many Democrats gathered together in the Lehigh Valley before and it was obvious even at the Brew Works that the makeup of the Democratic Coalition was not just changing but, in fact, had already changed. Blacks, Latinos, Young People of all colors and persuasions were joining together with the Older White Democrats to celebrate the passing of the torch to a Young, Black Man who had rocketed out of obscurity after his Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic Convention.
On November 4th, 2008, a mere four years later he had captured the Democratic Party Nomination after defeating a relatively strong group of Democratic rivals. He whittled the group down a bit at a time and finally there was only one rival left, Hillary Clinton. She was a formidable rival, nevertheless. There were many faithful Democrats who, like Hillary, admired Barack Obama but felt that he was cutting in line too soon for his shot at the highest office in the land.
Hillary fought hard for the nomination but although Barack always gave her the respect she deserved in the Democratic Party Debates, he also gave her a run for her money in the Primary Race for the Democratic Nomination. Hillary, to her credit, when she realized that her hopes for getting the Nomination were dashed, followed through on her promise to support Barack. She was not able to convince every Hillary supporter to support Barack but she did her best to do just that in the remainder of the Election. Hillary and Bill Clinton's very strong Support for Barack Obama at the Democratic Convention in Denver allowed Barack to leave the Convention with his campaign and his party in fine form and ready to face the days that were left as unified as the Democratic Party had ever been. Before and after Denver Barack felt like and looked like a winner and although the polls didn't always agree his self confidence and his finely tuned message of Hope, Change, Getting out of Iraq, Getting Bin laden, Giving Tax breaks to the Middle Class and no more tax breaks for the Super Rich, resonated with voters.
As Barack said over and over across the United States of America IT TRULY WAS OUR TIME.
Now that our time has come we must enjoy it. We must celebrate it. We must rejoice over it. We have waited a long time for this moment. I read a very moving open letter to Barack Obama this week written by Alice Walker. She advised Barack not to let himself be overwhelmed by the job and to continue to pay attention to his wife and daughters and let himself relax. Somehow I don't think that this will be a problem for Barack Obama. He does not appear to be a nervous guy. He has had plenty to make him nervous over the course of this year's campaign and it seems as though he has maintained his cool throughout this harrowing time. My guess is that he will continue to make time for his lovely family and that he and they will make us proud to be Americans again.
The messages from all over the world have shown that not only Americans but Planet Earth Citizens from everywhere are no longer looking with disdain at The United States of America. Barack Obama's message of Hope, Change and Peace is a message that can and will resonate everywhere in the world.
We were still at the Brew Works when one of the networks called the election for Obama. The shouting was deafening. These Democrats were stoked up. As my wife, Sandy (a committed Hillary Supporter before she was a Barack Supporter) and I left the Brew Works, where we had also met with our daughter, Rachel (Another Hillary Supporter, Rutgers Law School Student and Future Presidential Candidate, Mark My Words) there were a few Allentonians whooping it up on Hamilton Street. We joined them for a few whoops as we walked to my car. We decided to drive by the Brew Works and beep our horn on the way home and it brought back memories of doing so many years ago. As I hit the horn the Democrats outside of the Brew Works yelled and gave V for victory signs.
When we got home Sandy fell asleep before Barack came on CNN and gave his rousing Victory Speech. It had been one Hell of a Night and a proper end to one Hell of a Historic Election.
During his Victory Speech Barack acknowledged that he knew that his Grandmother, who had just died, was there with him in Chicago that night. It takes a lot to make Jesse Jackson cry but he was visibly weeping probably realizing that along with Barack's Grandmother, Martin Luther King was also there in Chicago that night thinking about the speech he gave the night before he died in Memphis.
"I've been to the mountaintop and I've seen the Promised Land", Martin Said. "I may not get there with you", he continued, "but we as a people will get to the Promised land."
On this beautiful Chicago night as we watched the first Black man ever to win the Presidency of the United States it was quite obvious that we had all arrived together in The Promised Land.