Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Looking Forward

In my previous post, I questioned whether it was right for a voter to target their registration, for, well, political reasons. I've had several conversations on this since, and I have made my peace with it. It is legal, and and as much we want our leaders to do all in their power, within the law, to lead us into peaceful prosperity, it is only right that we, as voters, want our individual voices to be heard to the full extent permitted within the law. 'Nuff said.

As I am writing, it appears that Barack Obama is to become the next U.S. President. In Chicago, there is one hell of a party warming up, with seventy thousand invited guests, and by some estimates, perhaps a million well-wishers converged upon Grant Park. (Added later - the estimates of 1 million were wildly optimistic. Reports now place total attendance around 150 thousand.) And while most of the cost of added security, cleanup, etc., is being covered by the Obama campaign, Mayor Daley was asked a few days ago if the city should do this - was it really a reasonable thing to do?

I don't recall his exact response, but the general idea was something like: "Home-town guy makes President. Should we do this? Are you kidding?" And you could see it in his eyes. This wasn't politicking - it was honest-to-God genuine Chicago pride.

Well, I suppose a successful party for a million wouldn't look bad on an Olympic resume, either.

But in the middle of all this hoopla, all the rhetoric, and at times all the bitterness, I found a reason to rejoice. As ABC News interviewed voters in Times Square, they spoke with one young woman - possibly a first-time voter - carrying a McCain/Palin sign. Confronted with the news that her favored candidate was unlikely to prevail, she replied with a smile, "I voted for John McCain because I was voting for change. We need change. And with Obama, we will have change. So either way, it's for the greater good, and I'm happy with that."

Those are wise words. And if I rise in the morning, and the headlines declare that after the final tally, McCain was elected President, I'd like to think I could say those same words, and mean it.

We are walking a narrow, rocky path through dire times. No one man or woman can single-handed take us safely through, but we can easily nudge each other off the path. Our best hope is to walk together, keep looking forward, and follow the leader.