The day after the election, I'm feeling more sober than euphoric. Although it's now definite that Christine Gregoire prevailed over the horrible Dino Rossi and both Colorado and South Dakota's anti-abortion measures were defeated, gay rights took a trouncing-- in California, though the results aren't absolutely final yet, it looks as though voters took away the right for gays to marry; & bans were also imposed in Florida and Arizona.
A sentence from Obama's speech illuminates what I was feeling last night:
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
For a long time we've had every reason to question that, in the nightmare of the last eight years especially. But thinking about all those people in California who voted to impose on a ban on gay marriages in defiance of the state's Supreme Court ruling permitting it, I find myself zeroing in on something else Obama said last night:
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America -- I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you -- we as a people will get there.
What "there" is, obviously, varies enormously from person to person-- even among those who voted for Obama. One thing he's done, though, is purposely left the question open about just where we might go. Not just for tactical political reasons, but to encourage widespread democratic participation in the process of important decision-making. The thing about hope, see, is that it's useless if it's vague or passive (waiting silently, for good things to fall into one's lap). Wishful thinking isn't synonymous with hopefulness.
Reading accounts of who might be on Obama's transition team and who in his Cabinet, I want to yell when certain names come up: No! Not him! He won't take us where we need to go!
What do you think? Who would you appoint to the top government positions if you were Obama? Let's play What If... I'd love to hear your suggestions.