It's been a long month. My absence, which I've learned has filled countless buckets with the salty tears of disillusionment, can no longer be tolerated. It is time to speak, so speak I shall.
Last night, at 6:30 PM, I was frantically pacing across a cold tile floor, my heart racing, my hair graying. At 7:00 PM, I was driving. Erratically. On NPR, I heard news of hope.
"I'm standing in a hotel conference hall where Republicans are meant to be gathering for a victory celebration. The cheese is out, the tables are set, but there are only a few people here, and they don't look very happy. Judging on each Party's party, I'd say the Democrats have this one in the bag."
I smashed through my door and turned on my computer and television. As I watched MSNBC, C-SPAN, CNN, and Fox, I surfed New York Times, Washington Post, Electoral Vote, and Digg. My eyes strained, my mind stretched, and my fingers flew as each passing moment brought news of both victory and defeat.
"Obama has taken both Pennsylvania and Ohio. McCain's road from here is VERY steep."
At 10:30 PM, I cracked the first of many smiles.
As the West Coast polls closed, it was clear the end was in sight. New data was pouring in, Obama had taken Virginia. My mind eased and my fingers slowed. In a few minutes, John McCain would concede the election.
And concede he did. I hate John McCain's policies. I hate John McCain's temperament and judgment. I DESPISE the way John McCain ran his campaign. HOWEVER. I have a deep respect for John McCain's graceful bow to the better man, and his sincerity in wishing that his followers band together with the rest of the nation to solve the problems of tomorrow. Kudos John McCain, you have regained your dignity.
At midnight, November 5th, 2008, history was made. President-elect Barack Obama walked on stage with his family, thanked the crowd, then delivered the greatest speech of our generation.
Today, we turn the page on eight long years of fear. Eight years of lies. Eight years of secrets. Eight years of war, of fundamentalism, of divisive hatred. Today, we look forward to eight years of hope. Eight years of truth. Eight years of transparency. Eight years of peace, of hard work, of unity.
Many difficult days preceded today's triumph, and many difficult days lie ahead. But, now, with the dark days of despair behind us, we can turn our eyes toward the warm, distant light ahead and work to break the chains of ignorance that have held us back for so long. Today is both the end and the beginning. A long and difficult road is ahead of us, but I'm ready. Ready to stand up and fight for my future, ready to work tirelessly to restore the ideals upon which this nation was founded, and ready to embrace the hardships that await us.
Today, for the first time in my adult life, I'm not ashamed to call myself an American..:-)