Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Gaining perspective on Tuesday and 2012

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Originally published on on Thu, 11/06/2008 – 3:41pm

Can’t say I’ve had a hangover — haven’t had a sip of champagne. But the last couple of days has been a wild ride. So let’s sit back, breathe, and assess.

Indiana and Virginia did something they hadn’t done since there were still black and white shows on TV — vote for a Democrat for president.

Depending on how Missouri goes, Barack Obama will likely fall short of the electoral vote mark I thought he might get – 370, the amount of electoral votes Bill Clinton got in 1992. Still, Obama got 52% of the vote, the highest percentage for a Democrat since Jimmy Carter.

Voters in Michigan overwhelmingly approved a medical marijuana ballot measure. The measure passed in every county with about 63 percent statewide.

Yet, Florida, Arizona, and California passed amendments banning same-sex marriage. Really?

To Douglas Wilder, Deval Patrick, David Paterson, Edward Brooke, Carol Moseley Braun, and Barack Obama — you are the only 6 African-American people in the modern era to serve as governor or a U.S. senator. And now, one of them is the president-elect. Amazing.

To Mark Begich, Al Franken, and Jim Martin: hang in there. Let the process play out and fight for every vote to count. Republicans are fighting as hard as they can. Well, actually the GOP fights harder than they can. Keep up with them: you are needed in the Senate.

There’s a lot to take in, but my mind keeps going back to a woman I met in Indiana back in May. Her name was Michelle. I met Michelle after the Hillary Clinton rally in South Bend.

Michelle, a woman in her 40s, an ardent Hillary Clinton supporter, told me that “if Obama gets in, it will be the demise of America.”

Michelle believed all the rhetoric about Obama being a “Muslim president.”

Her main issue, and her main reason for supporting Sen. Clinton was health care. She told me back in May that if Obama was the nominee, she would vote for John McCain. Her mother, who was there, sounded the theme of how their votes usually went: the last Republican she voted for was Eisenhower.

Obama did win Indiana, though I don’t know if Michelle contributed to that effort. In winning Indiana, Obama was able to convince people such as Michelle to forgive certain perceptions and prejudices.

I said back in May that “Michelle’s choice today is clear; in 6 months, well, she has a long time to think about that.”

I won’t try to pretend to know which way Michelle voted in November. But I’m also pretty sure that there were millions like her, those who want what Obama wants but for one reason or another, weren’t quite sure what to make of Obama.

So President-elect Barack Obama, who has promised to be president for all the people (a nice touch given the current situation), will be on display for 4 years before people such as Michelle get another chance to see if they want him to stay president.

On the off chance that Michelle still isn’t swayed, Michelle can always vote for Obama in 2012, once she is certain that Obama isn’t a “Muslim president.”

So I feel confident that despite a number of silly prejudices, enough Americans were convinced that this was the way to go. And when those people get to see President Obama in action, perhaps they will understand that those prejudices didn’t apply. And maybe that those prejudices are useless even against people who aren’t named Barack Obama.


Written by democracysoup

November 6, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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