I can remember the moment Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president. I can remember the same for John Edwards, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton and even Bill Richardson. If you read this blog on occasion, you're well aware that I was an Edwards supporter until his run fizzled out. Once it did, I moved over to Obama. But I still had questions. I didn't know much about this young Senator from Illinois. Although it's now become a silly campaign attack, I admit that I saw a lot of promise but wasn't certain about the substance behind it all.
The last 21 months or so have proven Senator Obama to be ready. There's now no question in my mind.
But I reflect on the Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft and George Bush years. All of the folks who stood beside these criminals as they condoned torture, left Americans to die in the streets of New Orleans, lied to the entire planet leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, stripped us of our civil liberties, drove the economy into ultimate despair and divided this country and the world. Oh, they all want to wash their hands now. I mean, look at Matthew Dowd, Colin Powell, and the hundreds who have simply gone quiet. They were complicit yet they now see that the mask has been stripped away and the truth is finally naked to the public. They never thought this day would come. But it has. And history will document who they were during these years, and how closely they were involved in one of the most grave and egregious administrations in world history.
We now look to one week from today. And the American voting block has the opportunity to make an almost radical shift. It's like listening to Jack Johnson for eight years and then discovering Bob Dylan. It's like reading Dean Koontz and then grabbing a Hemingway novel for the first time. Ok, I admit that my analogies are quite weak. But we're on the cusp of major, major change. This is not to say that Barack Obama, if he wins, will be an outstanding president; that clearly remains to be seen. For one, he will be handed a country in peril. Secondly, despite the clear and thoughtful decisions he's made thus far, the presidency is an entire new game.
All that said, we're very close to electing Senator Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States. Given the still sensitive nature of race in this country, Obama and the democrats have not highlighted this fact, but this is an absolutely monumental moment in our history, and the history of the world. This stands with Martin Luther King Jr.
And in addition, we're about to finally address the ills that face our country, including education, health care, the economy, the huge disparity between the rich and poor, and perhaps most importantly, our atrocious standing with the rest of the world. The republicans have always made a mockery of the people and countries that support democratic candidates. And they do this, because unlike here in America, the rest of the world hasn't been fooled into thinking that republicans actually care about the average worker, and that religion, guns and abortion truly matter to them. As a party, they do not, aside from using them to court vulnerable voters. After eight years of Bush and company, to see Barack Obama stand before 100,000 people in Berlin should be applauded, not mocked. Regardless of what the right-wing dolts stay, we are in this with the rest of the world, and they know it. But they don't want you to realize that.
We are one week away. In a time like this, Barack Obama is exactly what we need. He's intellectually curious; he listens to others; he sees the world and not just us; he came from nothing and built an amazing life; he wants to unite this country and the world.
He is the hope of each and every one of us. Now let's give him the opportunity to fulfill that promise. This is truly the audacity of hope.