My Dear America:
There are many more lessons to be learned from the Triumph of Barack Obama in the Election of 2008. In addition to the lessons I have listed previously, I want to add one other lesson that I think is, in fact, probably the most important lesson of all that can be learned from the Obama Election Victory. That lesson is the following:
Lesson 5 - America's Respect in the World, which was certainly damaged by the Actions of the Bush Administration, can be restored and, to some extent, has already been restored by the 2008 Election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.
The reality of this statement can be understood not only by the reaction of American Leaders and Citizens to Obama's election but also by the reaction of World Leaders and World Citizens to Obama's election. With the possible exception of Russia, (and even they finally came around) nearly every foreign leader praised Obama's election and wished him well. Even Iran's President, a man of few kind words, seemed to find some for Obama following the election. Certainly Obama's election seemed put to rest claims by world leaders seeking to sow the seeds of discontent in America and elsewhere that America is a racist country that would never elect a black man to the Presidency.
Certainly Racists and Racism still exists in the United States of America. Like Terrorists in every country in the world, Racists are a fact of life in the 21st Century. Luckilly, however, in 2008, however, Racists have taken the back seat on the bus and have been relegated to the status of third class citizens.
It is certainly a new world or at least a new country and one in which all men and women for all practical purposes truly are created equal. We have seen black candidates running for President before, Shirley Chilsolm, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. These candidates put their mark indelibly on the Presidential Campaign Path. In reality though these candidates never really had a fighting chance to be anything more than marginal presidential candidates, people who blazed a trail and left their mark but people who ultimately did not have a snowballs chance in hell really to become President.
To be quite honest,up until the end results of the Iowa Caucus I did not give Barack Obama a snowball's chance in hell either in the 2008 Election. It was only after his stunning and unexpected victory in this isolated midwest state when it became clear that we were in a new political era in which this skinny guy with the funny name not only had a chance to make a difference but actually had a chance to win the Presidency.
How he did it and why he did it will certainly be discussed by historians for decades to come certainly and for centuries to come possibly. When I started writing this story about the Election of 2008 I intended to be as non partisan as possible in my writing. I know I failed miserably in that intention but at least I made the commitment initially. Like many others, who would not resist the title of Liberal Democrat, I felt that I had, even at the beginning of the election cycle, selected my candidate. Her name was Hillary Clinton.
I could not understand how my wife and daughters could get it so wrong when they read my Blog about the January Contests. They were alrady calling me a traitor to Hillary and an out and out Barack Supporter. It is only now, nearly a year later when I have revisited and reviewed some of my posts that I can understand where my family members were coming from in identifying me as a Barack Supporter back then. I certainly showed in some of my early posts as well as my later ones my excitement about this phenomenal new candidate, Barack Obama. Although I did and do respect Hillary Clinton and would have been just as happy to see her become President as I would have Barack, I am happy to see how things turned out for both Barack and Hillary. I wonder, however, how two people with such strong personalities will do working with each other over the long haul. Although quite clearly I was torn between the two Last Candidates Standing in the Democratic Primary I am still proud that in the Pennsylvania Primary I voted for Hillary Clinton. This decision to vote for Hillary in the PA Primary was a tough one and one that my wife and daughters still question. They still believe that in the PA Primary I voted for Barack. My denials have fallen on deaf ears in my family as they have watched me become more and more fascinated with Barack in my Blog Posts over the course of the 2008 Campaign. My wife and daughter, Rachel, who got her picture taken with Hillary at a party at Hillary's home in D.C., say they have finally forgiven me for selling out Hillary when I voted for Barack in the PA Primary. Rachel said Hillary reacted with excitement when Rachel mentioned my mother's family, The Houlihans, who had a cottage for years at Lake Winola in Northeastern Pennsylvania. To tell you the truth that sealed the deal for me. Once Rachel told me that Hillary was jumping up and down in her own home saying "The Houlihans, Sure I know the Houlihans from Lake Winola", quite frankly that did it for me. I realize that it may be a shallow reason to vote for someone for President when there are so many other dire and complicated issues to consider to consider. But I did it and I'm glad I did it.
To tell you the truth, the handwriting was already on the wall as far as I was concerned. I voted for Hillary not only because she acknowledged my family but also because she and her husband put Democrats back into the White House and those Democrats left the White House after 8 years with everything in the country going well. The Clinton's sex life should have remained something that only Hillary and Bill should have discussed with each other. Bill's indiscression with Monica Lewinsky instead was plastered all over the news and he was impeached for getting a sexual favor from a horney Intern because the Republicans in Congress had no other real issue with which to drive a stake through the heart of Bill Clinton's Presidency. But by 2008 when Hillary had become the Politician in the family, it was no longer her stumping for Bill, It was Bill stumping for her.
To be sure Hillary in 2008 was the better campaigner of the two Clintons on the road. Bill made gaffes and statements on the road that could be and were taken out of context. Bill proved to be a tireless cheerleader for his wife, though, and you had to admire his beaming, smiling support as he took a back seat to her on campaign stages throughout America. Despite all the Jay Leno jokes about the Clintons they proved once and for all that in 2008 they were still a formidable Duo who despite their failings still oved each other very deeply. Hillary, on the road proved to be able to stand up well to the Campaign fatigue that exhausted other, younger members of her staff. She had her problems with keeping her Campaign staff under control at times but she fought like hell in 2008 until the numbers became so tilted toward Obama that she had to give up her valiant and groundbreaking campaign to allow her opponent's valiant and groundbreaking campaign to take its rightful place at the head of the Democratic Pack.
Hillary was criticized by many pundits when she did not immediately shut down her campaign and endorse Obama. She did eventually in a very classy and emotional way shut down her Presidential Campaign paying tribute to her supporters and unmistakeably throwing her support to the only remaining Democratic Candidate, Barack Obama. The conspicuously campaigned together in New Hampshire and even though she was passed over for Vice President Hillary and Bill Clinton made it Clear at the Denver Democratic Convention that they were strongly supporting Barack Obama. The Democrats came out of Denver as United as is possible for Democrats to be. Hillary, despite what many believed to be a Vice Presidential snub, Hillary made good on her promise to support Obama. Bill was not as visible a supportive presence for Obama on the road as Hillary was until the last days of the campaign. Bill and Hillary truly came through for Obama. Were they the only reason Obama won. Probably not. They certainly were one of the main reasons that Obama won, however. Now as the Obama Administration begins to take shape and Hillary Clinton becomes Secretary of State the respect that these two former rivals have for each other has become more evident.
Much can be said and will be said in the coming years about the Exciting, Groundbreaking and Monumentally Historic Presidential Campaign of 2009. In the end, however, the history of the 2008 Campaign will pale in comparison to the important challenges that face Barack Obama as he begins his Administration in January of 2009.
As every President who has held the office knows full well, There will be very serious and dangerous surprises during the term of President Obama, in addition to the very serious and dangerous surprises that have already occurred that President Obama will be required to deal with. We live in dangerous and surprising times and it is a mystery to me why so many eminently qualified and capable people continue to present themselves every four years as candidates for what is arguably the worst, most impossible, most thankless and dangerous job in the world. I guess the reason that they come might have to do with the fact that it can also be the most highly respected, most enduring and the most important job in the world.
I am just glad that they keep coming and that The United States of America, a relatively young country compared to many others continues to endure and attract Presidents like Barack Obama.
As has been said for over 200 years and will be said for many hundreds of years
God Bless The United States of America and let us also say at this time of national pride and challenge
God Bless The Presidency of Barack Obama.
May we all survive to witness The Presidency of Barack Obama and the Presidencies of many who might come after him.