I Hope


Chances are I don't agree with your politics. At least not 100 percent. I voted for candidates in four different parties yesterday. Some will say that's stupid. I'm alright with that.

But today, like so many others in this country, I hope. I've admired Obama since he spoke at the 2000 DNC. I believe he is, at heart, a good man — despite a few deep disagreements on issues important to me, my family and my faith. I agree with much of what he says he would like to accomplish — although I would approach many of the issues in very different ways. But he's inspired so many people — and if that's what it takes to mobilize the people of this great nation to demand, not bigger, but better government, then I hope he continues and meets with much success.

I hope that his moderate rhetoric from the campaign matches his actions going forward. I chatted briefly with a friend from Chicago, who knows Obama (via University of Chicago Law School) better than most Americans and supports him, but even he has his concerns; it would be foolish to think that the even-keeled president-elect didn't learn a little something from the dirty side of Chicago politics. But still I hope — that his better angels will conspire with all of ours to take flight.

So many people have spoken, and will continue to speak, about Obama as the first black president of the United States. Of course this is monumental and moving: I smiled to hear Condoleezza Rice take a moment to make sure the press heard from her about what an historic moment this was, and smiled again to hear the revelers in Chicago today, including a young black man who said that, in addition to his great expectations for Obama, the president-elect has expectations for guys like him, too — among them to "pull our pants up a little higher" and "to start loving each other."

I hope it's the beginning of a new day, and an end for racism and discrimination. I hope that the black church that burned in the wee hours of the morning was a fluke coincidence.

But I have another reason to hope — for years now I've tried to imagine the first post-Boomer or Gen-X president. I hoped for a president who would look at the ways things have been done and see other possibilities, who would try new things, who would shake up the established order and hierarchy in Washington. My experience growing up in rural Michigan, then going "back East" to school, was that many in my generation don't care where you come from, how much money you have, what you look like, or even whether you agree with them or not — they care what you stand for and why; they care about your ideas, your gifts, how you can help and how they can help you. That's the kind of person I wanted to see running things.

I hope our country has elected such a man. I may not agree with him, but I hope. Call me naive, but it feels good.

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