President: n. Barack Hussein Obama, 44th elected leader of the United States of America. First African American elected to the highest office in our country. [Here insert whoops, hollers, tears, leaps and twirls, happy pandemonium from the elated public!]
Practice: v.t. to carry out, apply
Preach: v. to advocate earnestly, to urge acceptance or abandonment of an idea or course of action
In America, we like to say that anyone with a strong will and consistent effort can realize their dreams. But that’s never been true except for white heterosexual Christian males. Blacks, gays, atheists, women, Muslims, need not apply. If you read Obama’s first book, The Audacity of Hope, you will understand how difficult a path Obama trod to reach last night’s historic victory.
Above all, it is time to celebrate the country’s wholehearted embrace of democracy, reflected in the intense engagement of Americans in this campaign and the outpouring to the polls all over the nation. For years, we have spoken of bringing free elections to the rest of the world even as we cynically mocked our own ways of conducting politics. Yesterday, we chose to practice what we have been preaching.
And what America has had to put up with in the meanwhile was truly the worst elements among us. Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman of the NY Times:
Last night wasn’t just a victory for tolerance; it wasn’t just a mandate for progressive change; it was also, I hope, the end of the monster years.
What I mean by that is that for the past 14 years America’s political life has been largely dominated by, well, monsters. Monsters like Tom DeLay, who suggested that the shootings at Columbine happened because schools teach students the theory of evolution. Monsters like Karl Rove, who declared that liberals wanted to offer “therapy and understanding” to terrorists. Monsters like Dick Cheney, who saw 9/11 as an opportunity to start torturing people.
And in our national discourse, we pretended that these monsters were reasonable, respectable people. To point out that the monsters were, in fact, monsters, was “shrill.”
Four years ago it seemed as if the monsters would dominate American politics for a long time to come. But for now, at least, they’ve been banished to the wilderness.