Nov 052008

President-Elect Obama,

I am writing this post with a full awareness that you will likely never read it.  I am not writing it for you per se, but I am directing the message at you and anyone who feels that you were elected out of some kind of blind hope or reckless idealism.  I am writing this to explain, and in some ways I am writing this as a warning.

Mr. Obama, we will be watching you.

Many of the people who went to the polls yesterday to cast a vote for you did so because they wanted to believe in their country again.  They wanted to be proud of calling themselves Americans.  They wanted to feel like our country was part of the world again, and not some kind of bully.  They wanted to be able to travel to foreign countries and not feel like they had to claim to be Canadian in order to feel safe.  They wanted a change, but not necessarily a change in policies or programs.  They wanted to see a change in the national mood.  They wanted a leader who based his policies on hope and not fear.

They forgave a lot of you to get that.  They looked at your relationship with William Ayers and determined that you were not a terrorist.  They looked at the comments of your long-time pastor Reverend Wright and determined that you were not anti-American.  Why?  Largely, I believe, because they understood. Did they agree?  No, perhaps not.  But many of them have been in a place recently where they have been so frustrated with their country that they have had similar thoughts.  I have heard the term revolution tossed about quite frequently over the course of the last eight years, and in many cases the person who said it was not joking.

They listened to the claims from the extreme right that you were a Muslim (not that they understood what the big deal about that was), that you were a Socialist, that you would put those who didn’t follow your way into re-education camps.  They listened, and they refused to believe.

But they DID hear.

Mr. Obama – We will be watching you.

Right now we are filled with hope, but one day does not erase eight years of cynicism and fear.  We will not trust you overnight.  We desperately want to believe in you, but we will not let that belief blind us to the truth.  Do not abuse the faith we have put in you.  Do not give your detractors an opportunity to point fingers and say “You see!  We told you so!”  Give us the change we want, but do so as you promised you would last night – With honesty and integrity.

We are counting on you, sir.  Those of us who cried tears of joy last night did so because, finally, we felt that maybe it was possible for us to believe in the promise of America again.  If you squander that…If you give us hope again only to dash our dreams yet again….We will take notice, and at this point the revolution I’ve heard so many people talking about will be, I fear, inevitable.

Where else could we go from here?

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