Had I gotten my address updated and my absentee ballot arrived in the mail, I would have either voted for John McCain, or abstained on account of my concerns over Palin’s qualifications. But most of America was more responsible than I was, and they voted. And they voted decisively.
John McCain’s concession speech was magnanimous (though his supporters were disturbingly inclined to boo whenever the name “Obama” escaped from his lips). Whatever other people think of him, I do think McCain is genuinely interested in the welfare of his countrymen, and he showed that tonight as he exhorted us to support Barack Obama as he takes upon himself the heavy burden of the presidency. Senator McCain, I trust, will continue to serve his nation well as a principled deal-maker in the United States Senate. Much as he did during the extremes of Bush’s presidency, I expect that he will provide reasoned opposition alongside valuable experience.
Senator Obama’s acceptance speech was humble, conciliatory, and yet inspiring. He quoted from Lincoln’s first inaugural address (I think) to good effect. Though he discounted the similarities between 2008 and 1861, we certainly need a president of the same caliber now as then to unite and to lead. Barack Obama certainly has the capacity to be that president.
At any rate, though I feel my reasons for leaning towards McCain remain valid (free trade vs. economic protectionism, less likely to order a catastrophic Vietnamesque withdrawal in Iraq), and though I am deeply troubled about the reckless expansion of government entitlements likely to happen soon, I vow not to be a sore loser who just whines for the next four (or eight) years. Oh sure, I’ll criticize. But hopefully I will only do so having granted the new president the benefit of the doubt, and requiring all criticisms to be on the basis of principle rather than ad hominem.
There are some things to look forward to under the upcoming administration. I’m particularly interested to see us kick the oil habit, and Obama seems poised to make something happen on that front. Personally I won’t be sad to see the Bush tax cuts expire since there was never decreased spending to accompany them. I anticipate improved relations abroad. And I think it will be cool to actually have little kids in the White House again for the first time in ages. Somehow it seems relate-to-able. Another obvious bonus is the powerful symbol Obama’s ascendancy is of America’s rejection of the bigotry of the past. Go equality!
So anyway, congratulations to Senator Obama and his supporters. And here’s to a bright future for our country!