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What a Difference Four Years Make

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Four years ago, I was so depressed by where our country found herself, so saddened by the depths of inexplicable depravity in which she had wallowed for more months than I cared to count, that I could barely rouse myself on the morning after the 2004 election. I had held so tightly, so desperately,to an unfounded hope that the silent majority would miraculously arise, shake the fog from their heads, and hand the Bush Administration its walking papers. I could not quite believe that my fellow Americans would award the Axis of Evil an additional forty-eight months to indulge its acquisitive lust for power, money, and more power.

And so I rose on the morning after Election 2004–the election that I firmly believed would be the most important of my lifetime–hope warring with dread in the core of my being, looked out the window at the new day and contemplated…

I decided I would let the dawn be the omen. If we had a spectacular
sunrise, no matter who won, things were going to be all right. A rainy, drizzly,
weeping dawn would foretell of dire consequences for our nation. Funny thing…I
knew the forecast was for sun today…knew the rain had stopped and the clouds had
scuttled away before we went to bed last night. I think I was creating a
scenario in my mind where my “good omen” daybreak was more than likely to
happen.

But we didn’t have a spectacular sunrise. The day dawned bright and
brittle. The sun just marched up over the horizon, cold and hard in the east.
And it frosted last night…the first frost of the season. The bright hard rays of
the rising sun glittered off the sodden masses of my garden flowers that were
killed by the frost. So, tell me…what kind of omen is that? Coming to Terms… November 3, 2004.

November 5, 2008 dawned grey and drizzly and dark…very much a typical late autumn day in the Pacific Northwest.

Yet I jumped out of bed, bustled into the café and gushed to my staff and any customer within earshot:

“Isn’t it a beautiful day!”

And I wasn’t talking about the weather.

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Tears for the Victor

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Did anyone else watch an eloquent, intelligent young man humbly accept the gift of the presidency of the United States from the hands of the American people—a people burdened and burned by eight dark, oppressive years of an administration devoid of hope, empty of compassion, bankrupt of honor—with tears welling up and spilling into your lap?

I couldn’t help it. There stood a man, a bright articulate man, speaking of change and hard work, healing and unification… instead of mouthing platitudes, whipping up blind nationalism, reminding us of our fears and encouraging our craven trembling in the face of all manner of threats and dangers. And this man…this well-spoken, inspirational man… was designated our next president. Representing the absolute antithesis of the buffoon we have borne in that capacity for way …too…long.

It hardly bears believing.

As I watched Barack Obama address his people, I literally felt as if a great heavy cloud was lifting from our nation. A cloud that no matter how hard we’d struggled or how loudly we’d shouted at it, would not budge, but rather settled more and more heavily upon us until we were utterly immobilized by its weight, a weight more analagous to the granite of a tombstone than the insubstantial mist of cloud.

Oh my god, it’s been a long time coming. I can believe in this country again. I can hope for this country again. I can look forward to seeing her regain her proud place among the nations of the world.

I emphatically wish we hadn’t had to endure the past eight hideous years in order to see this day. And I suppose it is likely that if the past eight years had been any less hideous, we would not be seeing this day. We have seen the worst. Dare we hope that, now, we may see the best?

All I know is..for the first time in a really long time, I can say with some conviction…

I’m proud to be an American.

History Begins Now…

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Election 2008


NATION ELECTS FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT

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