The moment I realised that President Obama was going to be President for another four years was electrifying. After the shock of the first debate in Denver when the President appeared uncomfortable with the role he appeared to want so much just a few days before, it took me some time to realise that he had been trounced by his opponent. I listened to the substance of the debate, and I was comfortable with the message that the president was sending. It was only with the inevitable hatchet job from the press, and especially the liberal press, that I came to accept his defeat.
Debates are often more about presentation than about substance. The President’s opponent was aggressive, rude, belligerent, and he prevaricated and fabricated his positions from the first minute. Pivoting from the conservative extremism that he espoused during the campaign, to a moderate centrist in a single day was just unbelievable. As it turned out, it was unbelievable, a mirage, a vacuous incongruity that wafted through the Romney campaign. Romney appeared more as illusionist than president, sending voters drifting through a hall of mirrors.
As the President picked himself up, he took up the fight once more, striding to the front of his admirers and followers. His ignominious defeat at the hands of a lesser man was vindicated in his annihilation of his opponent in the following two debates. The world was sane once more.
There really was an imperative in this election result. It was not just another night with another set of politicians battling for supremacy. The president said it often on the campaign trail, it was about a fundamentally different view of the nation and its people.
The conservative ideology is not just simple, it is simplistic and adolescent. Conservatives care only about wealth, power and the destruction of government. Their entire philosophy boils down to taking from the poor, the workers, the vulnerable in society. Their contempt for those groups, and so many others, knows no bounds. They are King John and his minions, the idle rich, the landed gentry. They care little for the people, and for the rights of those people.
The Republican Party is crafting an ideological position that ultimately will make them irrelevant in this Brave new World, absent a financial disaster of some sort. The electorate is becoming more diverse, more cosmopolitan, more ready to interact with others regardless of their views. There is still a long way to go, far too great an undercurrent of intolerance towards others, especially in the deep south and the midwest. It is a dangerous time for this nation, when a spark could ignite that latent fuel.
The path forward as espoused by the president is, as his 2008 slogan informed us, hope and change. He sees the nation and the planet in far more nuanced terms. The genius of this president is that he fully understands that the only reason this nation attained the great heights that it did was it ability to grasp the importance of the people, the bedrock on which the nation is built.
The president knows that when the middle classes are happy, when they have the opportunity to gain an education in the field that interests them, and create new ideas that can flower in this twenty-first century, the nation thrives. When the poor can see a path to the middle class or beyond, that it is attainable, and not the exclusive preserve of a few born to privilege, it makes the nation stronger.
The president understands that when the affluent can keep the best education for themselves, and impose barriers on those beneath, the quality of the work force suffers. He does not believe that we should look beyond our borders to other lands in order to gain the expertise that we need. We have it right here within these borders, we need only grease the path to help create a better life for all citizens.
This is why he wants to make education more affordable, to train people that will occupy the positions that business needs, without having to bring people in from outside. There is nothing wrong with importing people with skills to these shores. The country is big enough to absorb them, but the people here need that chance too.
The President has a vision of a nation where our infrastructure remains the best in the world. Over the past few decades, the infrastructure has withered for lack of funding. Bridges are in need of repair, roads need maintenance, tunnels should ease congestion in places like Manhattan. Across the country, essential maintenance on the nations lifeblood is being starved of funding by conservatives purporting to want deficit reduction.
The man I supported through four bitter years, continually hounded by conservative extremists still has a dream for a better nation. We saw that during the campaign, the enormous compassion that this man has for this nation, for its people. He cares about the Middle Class, for the pillars that support the people, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps. These are not handouts, they are the framework that holds this nation up in the face of financial torment.
The president is a man that is not there to uphold the rights of his supporters, or of Democrats. He made quite clear; he is there to support all the people, to do the best job he can to make sure that this nation remains in the forefront of science, technology, green energy, and the basic liberties for which we are renowned.
Two of the most poignant moments of this campaign I saw in the last two days. The first was his daughter telling him that he should wave to the people behind him because they also voted for him. A family man, a man of the people. The other was when he said goodbye to his campaign staff in a small private meeting. It was not supposed to be televised, but what we saw showed the compassion of this man. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he said that they would go on to greater things than he could dream of. They clapped as he wiped the tears away.
A few weeks ago watching one of his speeches, I said to my wife, “I am going to miss this man”. I was feeling sombre after the first debate, and I realized how important it was to everyone that he win this election. That he did with such aplomb, such grace is a testament to him. History will look on this great man with kindness, even if his enemies do not. It is a pleasure to live in this country at this time, with this towering figure. I wish him well.
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