Underrated: The "Actual" America

November 04, 2008 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Last night the citizens of the United States began to right their wayward ship by electing the one candidate that offered not only the strongest rhetorical argument for change, but the more practical path toward achieving it. Four years ago, on the day after George W. Bush was re-elected, young Americans felt compelled to create a website where they personally apologized to the world. This morning, the world is embracing them for their choice of Barack Obama.

John McCain was truly gracious in defeat. The presidency is no individual's right or reward, but his years of service and his appeal to moderates made him one of the more qualified and viable candidates in recent memory. McCain's respectful acknowledgment of Obama's unique ability to organize, mobilize, and inspire voters will not soften the crushing electoral blow he and his party endured. However, it will allow him to take the first step in once again distancing himself from the more extreme conservative influences within his party. Senator John McCain is an honorable man, and we can be sure that when the dust settles, he will do as he has always done and reach across that aisle in January to work with President Obama.

Regardless of what happens over the next four years, November 4, 2008 will go down as a monumental date in American history; a date you will tell your children and grandchildren about when they express bewilderment over why the color of a person's skin was ever an issue in a country built on freedom and equality.

In his victory speech last night, Obama paid great deference to not only his supporters, but those of his opponent. He recognized that while not everyone cast a ballot of approval in his direction, he would be a president that needs to serve their interests of all citizens. His stoic demeanor in this moment of jubilance makes one believe that his words are not merely conciliatory gestures, but an honest commitment to unite us all and bridge the differences that have sharply divided our great nation.

Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, we are all in a position now to alter the trajectory of this country. The better part of the last eight years have been quite difficult, at times demoralizing, and not often enough hopeful or positive for the American people. Now is our chance to learn from this period. We need to balance concerns at home and abroad; to begin taking the steps necessary to repair our ailing economy; to mend our broken relationships around the globe. The tide of change may have crested on Election Day, but there is still much work to be done, and Barack Obama is not a knight in shining armor. He will do his part, but it is still up to the people to maintain their enthusiasm and desire for a better America.

And today, for the first time in quite a while, no one in America should feel the need to apologize.