I just finished reading the text of our next president's acceptance speech, and I'm sitting here with goosebumps. My eyes are getting teary. It was one thing to hear it. This man is so articulate, so eloquent, and OMG, he seems to have the intelligence and the heart to back up the beautiful words. I've been muted throughout this campaign, but that ended tonight.
In 2004, I sat through the election returns wondering how in the world we could be re-electing Bush. In 2000, the drama of a conflicted (stolen?) election took days to play out, and before it was over, I was just ready for a winner to be declared. At that time, though I'd voted for Gore, I was mildly hopeful about Bush. I believed that Uniter business, or at least, I really wanted to. And after Reagan, the elder Bush hadn't been that bad, not that good, but in comparison, not that bad. In 1996, I felt confirmed by the election but the scandals of the Clinton years were hard to bear, and I blame both parties. In 1992, I wanted to believe again but with the first Bush, I was disillusioned, and the Reagan years firmly set the political cynicism born in the years of Watergate, and I just couldn't have more than a flicker of hope.
Tonight, that hope is burning bright again. I've heard a lot of moving political speeches over the years. Working with words as much as I do, I know they can't always be trusted. Tonight, listening to and reading Obama's speech, I feel something beyond the power of good words, and I'm praying that feeling is accurate and true. I know that a really good man doesn't necessarily become a really good president. (God bless you, Jimmy Carter. You'll always be one of my heroes.) But this is hope, real hope, not just for my nation, but for myself personally. I feel inspired, and if our country's new leader can face the enormous challenges we face with honesty and courage, then I can do the same thing on a personal level. As silly as that may sound, it's how I feel. Earlier today, I wrote that I did my share when I wrote about voting. Now, I want to do more.
I'm getting emails from my conservative friends already. I'm reading sadness, and I respect their feelings. It's not easy to have your candidate who closely expresses your views lose. What I haven't read is anger, and the fears I've seen expressed have been muted. I don't know if this has sprung from consideration of my feelings (They have seen me be a gracious loser in a lot of elections by now.) or if it could possibly be the beginning of a little hope for the unity President Elect Obama (oh how good that sounds) promotes. This is yet another flicker in this blaze of hope.