Tuesday, November 04, 2008


According to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters, our vote-by-mail ballots have been received.

This means that, whatever else happens, Barack Obama got at least three votes.

It's hard for me to express how elated I am that, in my daughter's first Presidential election, she has a choice at the top of the ticket that resonates with her, and for whom she was excited to cast her first vote for President. Although I know it won't happen every time, it's important to me that her first experience in helping to choose the leader of the free world be inspiring and positive, rather than the usual ennui-inducing coin flip between two tapioca-bland evils.

I'm glad that for once, we have a choice that actually matters. And yes, I'm a wee bit tickled that it's a choice that is not only right for the time, place, and office, but also reflects the nature of my family, my community, and the man I see in the mirror every morning. In my lifetime, I've never been offered a choice like that before. I'm pleased that my daughter won't have to live to be my age before she is offered such a choice.

I wrote this in July 2004, after Barack Obama's keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention:
The phrase that leapt out of Obama's speech for me was "the audacity of hope." I don't tend to be hopeful about humankind in general because we are what we are and will never change, but at the individual level we must either hope or die. "Hope does not disappoint us," as the apostle wrote, because it impels us onward and gives us reason to face each new day. Sometimes we don't get all that we hope for, but if we never hope, we will never strive, and therefore will never get anything. And yes, it's an audacious concept -- as audacious as the day two bicycle mechanics launched their ungainly Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and said, "Hope this works." Maybe the Wrights' machine would have crashed and burned. But they'd have never known had they not hoped enough to try.
Today, we can make a choice as a nation that says something good about us as Americans. We need to hear that. The world needs to hear that. God knows we've said and done enough in recent years to make us look vain and mean-spirited and vicious and stupid. It's about time we stood up once again and said, "This is who we really are. We are honorable and decent and just. We have intelligence and compassion and strength. We are a people of hope."

If you went to the polls today and voiced your choice, good on you. If you haven't yet voted, but are going to vote before your precinct closes, good on you. If you, as did our family, voted early by whatever process your state offers, good on you. I hope you made, or will make, the right choices.

That means I hope that you made your choices — not just at the top of the ballot, but all the way through — in light of the noble hope that makes this country such a wonderful place to inhabit. We may not always be a people who do the right thing. But we should always be a people who try.

By this time tomorrow, we will all know whether our efforts — and our hope — were enough.

I'm SwanShadow, and I approve this message.

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