Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A more perfect Union

There’s plenty of time to discuss the election’s impact on the subject of this blog. For now, here’s something off topic.

I had the opportunity to attend Senator Obama’s last campaign rally in Manassas, Virginia. We followed my son’s sense of when to hit the road, an as a result we arrived early and found a spot about 100 yards from the podium.

Manassas is in Prince William County, an area that divides the northern Virginia region from the rest of the state, or what a McCain spokeswoman called “the real Virginia” in one of the campaign’s most unfortunate, and self-damaging turns of phrase.

The event was held at an agricultural fairgrounds, in a field that stretched way up a hillside. The place eventually filled in with about 90,000 nice people, incredibly packing the entire hillside. The crowd was diverse and skewed toward younger Americans, probably because of the challenges of parking, walking to the site, and standing in an open field with no seating late into the night.

Long before the program began, I turned to a black man standing next to me and made an attempt at light humor, telling him that in about three and a half hours, the program would be starting right up.

“I’ve been waiting my whole life,” he responded.

I got the point.

We were in the Old Dominion, a former slave state that housed the seat of the 19th century Confederacy and that met 20th century integration with “massive resistance.” Two fine candidates were ending campaigns that were fundamentally about their own qualities and ideas, and about the country’s challenges. We witnessed the end of one candidacy that was not about race, but that in itself marked a milestone in our nation’s history, and would have done so regardless of which candidate won.

“A more perfect union” were the words that came to mind.

My friend in that field had been waiting his whole life, he said. So too, I suppose, had been Virginia, and the whole country.

[Washington Post photo]


Anonymous said...

woh hhhhhooooooooooo!

Anonymous said...

I am proud of the people, for the people, with the people.. i did not vote intentionally, but was more keen to lean toward Obama instead of McCain. I hope Obama in year 3 restore what was a great economy, build social service programs, as well as prove to those who doubt his skills as a politician that the American people made the right decission to chose him over Hillary..... Pride is in the Low income communities already.....

Anonymous said...

Awesome result. Symbolically its a win for reason, and for the people who use data (reality) to base decisions.

Yes we can!

Anonymous said...

When I voted for Michael Steele to be my governor in '06, enlightened liberals such as these were calling him an uncle Tom. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Anonymous said...

it would be a better story if the guy had any qualifications for the highest office in the land.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Obama, favored Obama ever since he decided to run, voted for him in the primaries and I am very happy he was elected. I am not happy, though, with his appointment of Rahm Emamanuel as his chief of staff. That guy is a hawk, unlike Obama, he always supported the war on Iraq and, according to what I have read, favors the hardline Likud party view in dealing with Palestinians. It's almost like having two presidents now, one elected and constitutional and the other one the de facto president. Or the power behind the throne, I am afraid. Now as far as Cuba is concerned, I am not worried. Whatever Obama decides there will be much better than what we have had so far. I just don't want to see the US involved in another Middle East war or practicing unjust policies. That is why I voted for Obama. I hope I will not be disapointed.