The United States took a monumental step in electing Barack Obama as its new president. The nation begins a new era inspired by the vision of a country united to face the challenges of our times. A new generation comes to the White House, flying a flag of hope.
Americans answered historyâ€™s call with massive voter turnout in a true celebration of democracy that carried the Illinois senator to victory. Voters broke generational, racial, and social barriers to respond to the call for change from the disastrous policies of the current Admnistration. They said â€œenough!â€ to divisive politics, stagnation in Washington, partisan extremism, economic inequities, and intolerance. They cast their vote for a new political tone that is inclusive, that will turn the rifts that divide us into bridges, and that will rebuild the United Statesâ€™ diminished image in the global community.
Obamaâ€™s message joined the intense hunger for change with concrete proposals, catapulting the senator from the din of the Democratic primaries to yesterdayâ€™s victory.
This success is, among other things, a triumph for minorities who finally see one of their own at the top. Future generations now have a new role model, and the â€œYes, we can!â€ repeated in rallies nationwide, is now a fact, not just a slogan. Obamaâ€™s meteoric career is the result of his intelligence, his perseverance and the political events that made him the right candidate, with the right message, at the right time.
In 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous speech in which he said: â€œI have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.â€ Obama is the embodiment of this American dream! The election of a biracial African-American is an example of the country that makes us proud. This is the land where a young community activist from Chicago wins the presidency thanks to his character and education.
Now the young senator embarks on a rough road to address our extraordinary national challenges: a seriously weakened economic system; a stalled political process in Iraq and resurgent violence in Afghanistan; and, a deteriorating quality of life for Americans due to the lack of health coverage, and the decrease of purchasing power. These are only some of the challenges that will face the president-elect.
Expectations for Obama are very high. Clearly, the election of more Democrats to Congress will help him face the challenges and get the country back on course. But, this task falls not only to the president or a party, but to the nation as a whole, and for this reason, we must leave behind the divisive wounds opened over this long and difficult campaign and come together to move this great nation forward.
Obama has said that this effort will require a commitment by each of us to assume our responsibilities with our family and society. Solutions must not only come from the top down, but must rise from bottom up. Having voted for change is the first step; now we must start the narrative of this new page in history which we have only just begun to write.