And Then It Was Over: Election 2008

This waiting has been insufferable. I dread a bad election day. I fear problems. But I anticipate an Obama victory. As far back as March I was saying, deep down, I thought Obama might take this election by a landslide. I believed then. I believe now.

It doesn’t mean I’m not scared. Shit happens. In 36 hours I’ll probably feel a lot better than I am.

But then again, my whole life right now is waiting — waiting to sign papers for the loan I’ve been approved for, waiting for the bed I’ve chosen and put a deposit on to be delivered next weekend, waiting for my back to heal, but most of all, waiting for a leader of the free world who wants to inspire hope, not fear, who wants to work with others, not drive a wedge between them, and who thinks dreaming a bigger dream isn’t the mark of a fool, but rather the mark of greatness.

In short, I’m waiting. I’ve waited a lifetime for a leader to inspire me like Obama does. I’ve waited a lifetime for a country to lead the way and say, globally, that dreaming of better days isn’t just for yesterday anymore.

And now we’re potentially 36 hours away from a landslide victory that will bring exactly that to us.

Do you realize that Obama has gone on the record as saying that he wants a bi-partisan cabinet? Do you realize he’s stated he absolutely sees the possibility of Republicans in key roles in his government?

Do you understand the dreams he has for the future? Do you understand the implications that has upon what might lie ahead for us all?

And it doesn’t matter that the pundits all say we’re headed for a landslide. Vote, vote, vote! Apathy and arrogance does the cause no good in these dying hours. Now it’s perhaps not a matter of victory — now it’s a matter of mandate and legacy-shaping.

The size of the victory, the sweeping nature of it, the prevalence of success in every state, THAT is how change comes. Hairline victories with party divisions at the House or Senate level cause the gridlock borne of the tip-toeing of politics and the backroom glad-handing and deal-making laced in compromises and bargaining which so often temper any real progress.

This is about rising up now, as a single voice, and saying “We won’t take politics as usual, we believe in the power of hope and will no longer give in to fear, we believe, we can, and we will.” It’s about giving the Democratic party a sweeping mandate to effect this change that the entire election has been about.

Drink the Kool-Aid. End the gridlock. And buckle up, ‘cos, if you drink it, end it, and vote it, the ride is gonna be real wild.

My entire life, I’ve waited for this moment: For someone on the Canadian or American political stage that can make me BELIEVE in the actualizing of the potential I know, deep down, that we as a society truly have. We’re brilliant, inspired, creative, caring, passionate, inventive, and pragmatic peoples. We’re built to overcome adversity. We’ve just forgotten how. And now we need someone like Obama to show us just how that’s done again.

And here we are. On the eve of it all.

I’m so done with fear. I’ve lived under a blanket of dread, fear, and defensiveness — we all have — for the better part of a decade. For a short beautiful time after 9/11, there was this amazing camaraderie that enveloped us all, a feeling that we were all in this together. Canada empathized with America, our heart broken when those towers belonging to our friends down south fell, and a nation got ripped apart. For a short time, we all realized we truly were in it together.

And then something happened. It stopped being about being together and consoling each other. Infighting began. And how.The media stopped truly questioning politicians, instead just reworking their rhetoric and playing the patriotism card for fear that they would be judged if they asked politicos the hard questions. Wars began, and to take the electorate’s mind off the fact that the wrong war was waged, and “Victory” wasn’t much of a victory after all in those early days of Iraq, the argument at home switched to family values and morality. Suddenly, the ball was dropped by everyone in the game (leading to both the war AND the economy being ignored), and every argument became about who was a better person, what moral life plan was better, and who better knew what was right for the emotional health of the country. But, mostly, everything became about who was wrong, who was dangerous, and who we should be scared of.

I know because these same divisive politics have bled their way into Canada. The divide between rich and poor may be greater than ever before, but so too is the divide between right and left. We are better than our petty infighting. We are better than our status quos. Now is the time to rise up and declare just that.

And whatever you may think about Obama and his so-called negative campaign, you remember this about the man: When McCain was literally throwing every single thing against Obama in an effort to paint him as amoral and dangerous, Obama stuck to the issues and called McCain down only on his platform. Never did he raise the issue that McCain wasn’t that good a soldier before he was a POW, never did he raise the allegations of how badly McCain treated his first wife after he returned, nor did he ever bring the Keating issue up in speeches, and they only finally released a video after McCain started using the Rezko argument. (But they warned the McCain camp that Keating would arise if Rezko did.)

He fought a fair fight. He was ethical about it. There were lines he never crossed. He always spoke of McCain with respect. But, yes, it was a fight.

This isn’t just an election. This is an opportunity for an entire nation to band together and completely change the philosophical future of its country. From Fear to Hope. From What’s Mine is Mine to We’re In This Together. From We Can’t Right Now to Yes, We Can.

What do you want to believe when you wake up in the morning on November 5th? Well, unless you turn out to vote and join the others shouting from the rafters that Enough is Enough and Now is the Time, you may not get the future you’re really dreaming of. Change like that takes the biggest, widest mandate you can give it. Mandates take numbers, they take landslides. They take every available vote. They need entire electorates to stand up and believe.

All you gotta do is vote. For the rest of us around the world who want this more than you’ll ever know, please, vote.