I’m a 47-year-old, white, male, upper-middle-class Texan. And tonight I am proud to be an American. We have lived up to the fundamental precept of this country – all men are created equal. As a country, we make mistakes, we follow ill-advised paths towards unwarranted goals, we stick our heads in the sand about the large issues while simultaneously wailing and gnashing our teeth about unimportant bullshit. But we also self-correct. We blink our eyes, shake our head, stand up, look around, assess, re-evaluate, and take action. So far in our history it’s been two steps forward for each step back, meaning we keep making progress, even if we get off track for short periods.
I don’t love or hate Barack Obama, I don’t love or hate John McCain. Neither are angels or devils. Neither would have been my first choice, but neither were horrific. I don’t know if Barack Obama will be a good president, and I don’t know if he’ll be a bad one. But I know he’ll be different, and different is what we need. We needed to break cleanly and clearly, unequivocally, from the last eight years. We needed to show the world, and ourselves, that we had enough guts and wisdom to admit our mistakes and change course.
And we did. Barack Obama will be our next president. A black man. The fact that I’ve lived to see the first black US president fills me with pride and emotion. And patriotism. And optimism. I hope to live long enough to also see the first woman, the first gay, the first atheist, the first Jew, the first Muslim, and first of every other wrongly oppressed minority get a chance to occupy the Oval Office, as long as they are qualified patriots.
I look forward to seeing the next phase for America under our new president. I hope, and actually expect, that we will be able to set aside our petty differences, quibbles, and dogma and come together with President Obama to do less of what we’re doing wrong and do more of what we’re doing right…in order to form a more perfect union.