When Senator Obama had suggested that there was a righteous wind at his back, he was criticized as being somewhat presumptuous. But he was, to a great extent, correct. There was a wind at his back, and it could be observed in those who were excited for him. McCain, on the other hand, was himself winded.
There is an excitement surrounding Obama that never could have been conjured by McCain. It is, in fact, surprising that McCain was ever able to get so far without it. Indeed, experience is an excellent qualifier, but experience is not magic. And those who pulled the lever did so in the hopes that maybe this longshot candidate could fulfill their dreams for the country. That pull of the lever was, of course, similar to working the slot machine, and we will not truly know if it will pay off any time soon. But it is not insignificant that so many felt the need to gamble in the first place.
Here in the rain-soaked streets of Washington, young and old, but all excited, voters swarm in and out of cars. The honking (frequently three staccato beeps) accompanies cheers of a name. Posters sway. Driving past the White House, Lafayette Square Park gathered more onlookers. Where they once stood and wondered “What if,” has finally, for them, changed to “Now that.”
That excitement is real. Yes, this is a historical moment, and one we should be proud of it. A legacy of racism and slavery has been strongly rejected in this election. And Barack Obama’s greatest strength turned out to be his inexperience. There was so small a record to point to, it was far easier for people hopeful for change to turn to him as the embodiment of their hopes. There was little to contradict them. What he lacked in experience, they made up for themselves. History was less important than simply making history.
Some see this as a recipe for disaster. A survey of blogs around the web note, almost gleefully, that this man will completely and utterly fail. He can’t help to, they say. This is foolishness. No one really knows. But a serious opposition ought to take its opponent seriously. More seriously, one hopes, than it did during the campaign.
What do conservatives have to look forward to? Years in opposition, something in which they excel. It’s easier to fight the growth of government than to govern without growth. And while certainly the policies ushered forward in coming years won’t be favorable to those who would prefer to live with liberty, they will definitely animate a movement struggling to define itself against what it isn’t. If nothing else, it’s a helping hand.
In this sense, I wish this for our dear readers. Do not be angry conservatives. Do not let the politics overrule your day-to-day lives. Continue living (to the extent you can) without concern for what the State might do. In this sense, we are so very different from the left. We won’t allow anger to guide our discourse. Instead, I hope it’ll be optimism. We will no doubt have fights ahead for the soul of American politics, but our own souls should remain unaffected. There are, after all, greater things.
This republic has a new president, baptized in the bloodless revolutions we enjoy every four years. Think about the woman in Iraq who holds her finger aloft, coated in purple dye. Just because we’ve practiced this so often for so long doesn’t mean it should thrill us any less.
Whatever politics are to come, please remember this one thing: We are free.
God bless America.
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