I voted for John McCain.
It wasn't a last minute choice. I made that decision quite some time ago. It was, however, not something I often discussed here.
So yeah. I voted for McCain and I did so because I thought his ideas more closely matched my own. He wasn't perfect. He made mistakes. He took positions that irritated me to no end, just as he took positions that made me nod vehemently "Yes! He gets it!" He was the right man for my vote.
And yet, tomorrow when I get up, I'll begin the process of wrapping my brain around the phrase President-elect Obama. . .and with it, I'll gracefully accept that now is the time to take the gloves off and time to start working as a collective group for a better tomorrow.
Now, let's be clear. There are many positions Barack Obama has taken during these last two years that I do not support. There are many issues I stand at the exact polar opposite from his. I'm sure as we progress through the next 4 years I will find blood boiling from time to time. I will worry myself over certain sound bytes or proposed legislation.
Yet, I know one political truth. This country is much, much more than it's elected officials.
Those of you that know me, likely know I set myself a challenge of reading at least one biography of every President from #1 through now #44. It's a slow process hampered by my ability to become fascinated by a particular era and spend lots of time obsessing over new books to flesh out those stories. It is, however, a reassuring process.
As I've slowly made my way through this process and nestle in with my second Thomas Jefferson biography, I've learned a few things.
1) The more things change. The more they stay the same. It's amazing how much of what we say today could be said then...and be just as true. Yet, here we are, over 225 years after the Declaration of Independence, about to witness yet another peaceful transfer of power in a nation that so many never thought would survive past Washington's tenure as President.
2) We face some amazing struggles right now. There are hurdles. There are things that make me nervous - wondering how Obama will face them and handle them as President. Yet, there have always been such struggles and we have always risen above even when it seemed we could not.
For those of you that supported Barack Obama - congratulations on successfully campaigning for a man you believed in.
For those of you that supported John McCain with me - listen to his speech tonight and know that we supported a man of grace and honor who is still fighting on your behalf in Washington as senator.
On either side, the time for divisive rhetoric and loathing is over. The time for doom and gloom has come and gone. The time when it seemed (for some odd reason) socially acceptable to deride a fellow American simply for owning a different opinion is dead and buried.
Obama supporters, this 'hope' and 'change' your candidate...our President-elect...has touted will die a premature death if we can't rise above the heated competition of the campaign. Win with dignity - the "take that" thought bubbles popping up seem to miss the point. There is no hope or change in the "us vs them" mentality.
McCain supporters, we lose for real if we toss in the towel and walk away. We give too much by giving up. Our politicians work FOR US. Find the same grace and honor present in that concession speech and begin the process of advocating for yourself through your representatives. Be heard.
The truth is, Obama has snagged an Electoral College landslide. Yet, the popular vote is within 3% points as I write this - 3% points. To me, that's not a one-sided mandate. That's a country divided that must now learn to come together and be ONE country.
We can move past red and blue - but *we* need to be the ones to do that not *them* -- the them we send to DC.
So, who is with me? Gloves off? Battle over? Time to heal as a nation and move forward - speaking our minds, being heard...but being one nation with respect and honor towards each other. We never did achieve this over the last 8 years- shame on us. Let's try harder now.