Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Salvation of the Elect

Well, we've done it. It's difficult to say really which is the most important point, so the following come in alphabetical order. We'll have an African-American president. We'll have a Democratic president. We won't have Republicans in power anywhere.

This last point needs a little explaining. Although I am opposed to virtually all Republican social and foreign policy positions, I think it is vitally important that whoever is in power has a capable and articulate opposition. The defeat suffered by the GOP in this election represents a significant rejection of their recent governance, and I hope that they come away from the experience chastened and committed to a platform supported by ideas and alternatives, rather than fear and obstruction. Still, I don't want to see them destroyed, and I happen to believe that it is through divided government that we are best able to govern.

There's no telling exactly what challenges President-Elect Obama will face in the next four (hopefully eight) years. Those who have noted that his campaign was long on rhetoric and a little short on substance have a valid point. In many ways Obama is the feel-good candidate. We voted for him because he articulates a vision of America that isn't defined by problems but possibilities.

Perhaps, to a certain extent, that is naive. Certainly much of Obama's support exists for reasons that, strictly speaking, have little justification in an objective sense. Even so, we are right to expect great things from him, because simply by securing election he has demonstrated the ability to unite behind his candidacy a large and growing segement of the citizenry. These are people who believe that, working together, we can overcome any obstacle.

Whether or not they are right awaits to be seen. But this much at least I know. We'll be better off on January 20th than we were on the 19th.