Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Miracle of Democracy

Last night all over America, and around the globe, people were glued to their TV sets waiting in anticipation for the various networks to report the election results. Margaret and I had stood in line before work for nearly two and a half hours that morning to cast our ballots. In Virginia 81 percent of registered voters cast a ballot and across America record turnouts were reported.

At 11:00 pm eastern time NBC was the first network to call the election in favor of Obama. A lot was said about what a moment in history that would become. They are right. In a country whose history is not dotted, but rather flooded, with race inequality this truly is a new chapter.

From the Trail of Tears and the pushing the Indians off of their land to the scar on the land that slavery was, to keeping Japanese-Americans in intermittent camps during WWII to the Civil Rights movement, America has always struggled with race relations.

What makes the election of Barrack Obama more spectacular to me is that he is the child of a Mixed Race Couple. An issue which many people struggle with today, and in the fundamentalist church I was raised in was discouraged well into the 1990's. His election truly has given America a chance to redeem some of the ills of the past and to look towards the future.

The most amazing thing about this election to me however is not who was or was not elected. It is the fact that here in America, unlike many nations around the world, we were able to once again see a peaceful transfer of power. The people had voted and the results were in. John McCain gave a speech showing the graceful man that he is. Then there was the victory speech by Barrack Obama, and here in Washington DC that was followed by people celebrating in the streets.

With all of this, and with the hard fought election and the deep emotions had by people who voted for either candidate, there have been no reports of unruly rioting, and will be no attempt at a coup of government. Around the world, it is rare that a change in philosophy and ruling governments goes so peacefully. I believe that even if the election had gone the other way there would have been an understanding by the American people that this was the voice of the majority and that we are government for the people by the people.

It is this, the fact that Americans can put so much feeling and emotion behind their candidate, and understand that in defeat the real miracle is the democracy that always prevails in America, that I am truly grateful for.

1 comment:

The Wilkins Family said...

I'm not sure which one of you wrote this. However, I really appreciate it. That is one thing that I kept feeling on election day, how lucky we were. I was able to take the kids to Ben and Jerry's for free ice cream and explain to Jackson that they were giving it away to celebrate democracy and teach him that many other places in the world don't have such a luxury.