Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Proud Of My Country Again

Last night was a truly novel experience.
I was in a bar full of young people cheering, screaming, clapping and crying over our new president. My heart swelled with brand-new emotions--political emotions of pride, inspiration, patriotism and hope. I was in tears throughout his acceptance speech.

Who is this President Obama? He spoke beautifully! He said things didn't just make sense, they were highly intelligent! He was magnanimous in victory! He invoked the greatest moments of America's history, and our most shining patriotic values! He credited the democratic process and the millions of voters throughout the country for his victory, and he asked for our help, and yes, sacrifice, in meeting the difficult challenges ahead!

We took to the streets of Brooklyn where the whooping and hollering were joined by honking, high-fives and hugs, and dancing. I saw the same looks of amazement on everyone's faces that I felt.

This is an incredible day for everyone in America. But for young people who have never known in our adult lives any president except George W. Bush, who is the opposite of the above qualities in every possible way, it's an especially great day, because we helped make it happen.

Young people tripled and quadrupled their turnout in the primaries, providing the margin of victory for Obama in crucial states like Iowa. Rock the Vote alone registered 2.5 million. The news commentators already acknowledged last night that the recurring promise of the youth vote has finally been delivered in this election, as early reports showed record turnout on Election Day as well.

The Millennials, born after 1978, are more diverse, tolerant and progressive than their elders, and we have suffered harshly from the economic policies of the previous administration. We're the largest and fastest-growing group without health care and the second most likely to declare bankruptcy. We're burdened by student loans, credit card debt, and the environmental and economic crises created by our elders. But this is our moment to help change the social compact in America for good. This is our movement.


Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that Millennials played a large role in this election, but I also think it is short sighted of you to think that we have all bought into Barack. And to be honest he is not the first politician promising change. How about we wait 2-4 years and see what he “actually” does first. Lastly, to state that you are “proud of your country again” is kind of sad. Regardless of whether Obama leads us out of these tough times (that Bush and to some extent Clinton put us in) or not does not change the fact that I am ALWAYS proud of my country. We do far more good than evil.

Anonymous said...

Nothing will change, wake up. BHO received 4x the contributions from Goldman Sachs than did his opponent. You bought into the lie. The 2-party stranglehold remains intact.

Louis said...

The first commenter shows the immaturity of republican patriotism. It also shows a blind spot in the republican ability to lead the country out of crisis. I am so glad the republicans are out of power.

First, when your country does wrong, you need to be mature enough to admit it and say that you're not proud of what your country has done on your behalf. When Americans learned of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam or the Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq, can any American honestly say they were proud of their country? Are we proud that when we were attacked by 15 Saudi Arabian citizens on September 11th our response was to invade Iraq? That was just stupidity.

This inability to see the flaws in the country and the blind belief that America is and always will be the greatest country on earth will be our undoing. Just like a drunk who first must admit that he has a drinking problem before he can be on the road to recovery, Americans must first be able to admit that we have serious problems of inequality, health care gaps and spending deficits before we can hope to dig our way out of these problems.

America is an exceptional country. None other exists on Earth like her. HOwever, we do have flaws that we need to admit to and fix. I'll be proud of my country if we can admit to the problems and fix them. Otherwise we're no better than the countries we make fun of.

Anonymous said...

I will be 30 a few days after the inauguration. My friends and students (I am a community college professor) have always thought that I seemed conflicted in my political views. I like a government that provides a society that provides opportunity and security to its people. However, spending my 20s under the Bush administration, I became so convinced that our government is hopelessly inept that I became largely opposed to government. I support helping people with health care, but saw programs being put in place like Medicare-D that did little to help lower the cost of drugs and is largely a giveaway to big-pharma. I support improving schools, but No Child Left Behind is a fatally flawed program. Not only is it underfunded, but with its test-oriented methodology, it has created a focus on memorization at the expense of true learning. I could go on and on, but my point is that I began to believe that our government should be constrained as much as possible. This was mistaken by many to be a statement about my beliefs regarding government in general, but it ws really specific to ours. Obama may disappoint, but he really may be able to enact real reform. In a conversation with a colleague a few years ago, the subject of why it is that Americans have an aversion to social programs while Europeans tend to be very accepting of them. My response was that it is because most Americans have never seen a social program done well. Ours tend to leave some people slipping through the cracks, create disincentives to work (such as giving health care to poor people who don't work but not to the working poor), and offer crappy service to those whom they do serve, usually at a ridiculously high price (case in point, the fact that our government spends nearly twice per capita on health care what the the French spend, yet we have very little to show for it). If Obama can tie his message of hope to some meaningful reforms, real change might come. I am cautiously optimistic.

Anonymous said...

Attention Louis! Immaturity...really?! I never said who I voted for...I just said that not all of us bought into Barack. I do find it funny that you equate being Republican with blind patriotism. I'm an independent not that that even matters. If you would like to focus on Iraq, Abu Ghraib, etc. that is fine. And I do not dismiss them but, I'd rather concentrate on the American hereos who do nothing but give: people who volunteer for teach for america, the peace corp., catholic charities, those who gave time, talent and millions of dollars to the sunami victims (far more than any other countries btw). I find it funny how quickly people forget the good that Americans are doing daily. To say you aren't proud of America is sad. Republicans, Independents, Democrats should all be proud of America and strive to make it even better especially enlight of past mistakes. Quit whining and do something positive.