I’ve had the privilege to vote in 4 presidential elections. This is the first time the candidate I voted for prevailed (the story of my previous choices we will save for another time). “This is supposed to feel good” I thought, as I colored in my paper ballot with Obama’s name. I know he is going to win so this should make me happy. Instead, I had been dwelling on my McCain campaign disappointment.
Last night, the image of the overjoyed crowds had a surprising effect on me. It felt a lot like optimism which I would characterize as the melting away of a layer or two of cynicism. I was besieged by more images and anecdotes of these crowds over the last 24 hours. I love this America that is all fired up. Apparently, it’s infectious. But now what?
I wish this blog had more than 7 readers because I would implore everyone to try to remember this feeling, positive or negative, and channel it into being an engaged citizen of our nation. I’m not talking about service and sacrifice. I mean doing your best to educate yourself on important issues, consider multiple viewpoints and please do not let the New York Times or CNN be your primary news source.
I understand we are all busy and will soon be caught up again in the daily grind. If your day is packed and you only have time for one news source, just read this blog and believe everything I say. Just kidding…mostly. The Framers were very clear when they wrote the Constitution that the ignorant masses (you and I) should NOT be allowed to directly elect the President (or Senators for that matter). We have been trying to prove them wrong ever since, but I think we need to pay attention all the time, not just during an election cycle.
My mother’s family is from a small town (about 15,000 residents) in Pennsylvania called Pottsville (famous as the birthplace of Yuengling and not so famous for the Pottsville Maroons). I will never forget my first visit there after 9/11. EVERY house on Norwegian Street had a flag flying two and a half months after the attack. We shouldn’t need a horrifying attack to feel proud of our country or an historic election to feel hopeful.
Earlier today on Facebook, a friend’s status looked like this:
You can stay patriotic unnamed Facebook friend that is most definitely not reading this right now. Please try.