12 November 2008: A great moment in history – mission accomplished

A great moment in history – mission accomplished

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and move to the superlative by asserting a recent event is the greatest ever.

Nevertheless, what America has done in choosing Barack Obama as her president and commander-in-chief is epic in the annals of world history

What other white dominant country could have elected a black person as its leader? Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia?

“Only in America,” sang Jay and the Americans in 1963, “the land of opportunity.”

While it is Obama’s personal story, it is ours as well, ours collectively and individually.

We rose to the occasion although it took a while. It took 80 years to get from slavery to Jackie Robinson and 90 to Brown v. Topeka, which ruled separate but equal is inherently unequal.

It took 54 more years to get to Barack Obama, but America has finally declared the color of one’s skin not to be a consideration when it comes to leadership, whether on the athletic field or in the nation’s highest office. Even John McCain’s noble supporters will concur.

So, Earth to bigots: get over it. How one leads his/her life, does his/her job, and contributes to his/her community is the measure of an individual’s worth. Not his/her skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Let’s keep in mind that Obama is not the avatar of the movement, but its personification. His election would not have happened without the coming together of every scintilla of the operation. In tiny Clear Creek, hundreds of individuals, each with a story, focused on one outcome.

Campaign organizers, who had taken leaves of absence from their jobs, collaborated with local party leaders to coordinate the complex ground game complete with passionate volunteers eager to be part of the history-making movement.

Locals who volunteered to phone bank, calling from theirs and neighbors’ homes; locals who knocked on doors some clutching babies and children with hands filled with campaign literature; locals who, in addition to their time and energy, donated their money; locals who wrote letters to the editor and forwarded emails to convince and cajole recalcitrant relatives and friends—these are the ones who help deliver the 58 percent margin of victory for Obama in Clear Creek.

Be the change. Clear Creek was, is, and will continue to be so.

A sizeable crowd of supporters, drained but exhilarated, gathered at Beau Jo’s—thanks, Chip!—for the watch party. They had done all they could have done, and could only await the verdict from the American people.

Personal stories were shared. Those over 50 wistfully recalled the hope and promise of their youth in the age of JFK, RFK, and MLK, a dream deferred, shattered by bullets.

They told of experiences from their youth fighting to bring about social justice for African Americans, women, and other disenfranchised and marginalized Americans; to end the unjust and pointless war of their generation; to eliminate poverty; to create a fledgling environmental movement; and to stand in solidarity with workers in their struggle for a fair wage and safe on-site conditions.

While recognizing gains made since 1968, they are cognizant of the immense work yet to be done in the inexorable quest for that more perfect union; hence, the reason they did what they did.

The motto atop the Clear Creek Democrats website reads, “Turning Clear Creek and Colorado blue.” Mission accomplished.

While Republicans still hold a slight statistical edge in registrations, 58 percent of the county voted for Obama. Mark Udall, Dan Gibbs, and Claire Levy won big as well as Joan Drury who won re-election two to one, while Kevin O’Malley faced no opposition.

Clear Creek voters spoke loudly and clearly: “We want our elected officials to make our government work.”

Wise folks—they understand that what they seek is not antiquated socialism but efficiency. They understand that government is not a necessary evil, but a partner with the private realm of a functional society.

What a difference four years make. The politics of old have taken a hit. While not mortally wounded, McCarthyism and negative campaign tactics such as robo-calls and smearing TV ads have suffered a major setback. America’s 21st-century “Know Nothings” have taken a licking much like their 19th –century political ancestors did.

They’ll be back, but for now America’s future, despite the current dire state of affairs, looks exceedingly bright thanks to all who are the change.

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