The way I feel about this week’s extraordinary victory by President Elect-Barack Obama can be summed up by Gandalf’s remarks at the end of the movie Two Towers:
“The battle for Helms Deep is over. The battle for Middle Earth is about to begin.”
We in the progressive movement have won a significant victory. We have elected a man who emphasized respect for opponents while attacking their positions. We have elected someone who has promised to restore the rule of law and see other nations as real partners instead of vassals and evil non-entities. We have given him a Congress more likely to help him to implement his policies.
Perhaps more importantly, we have won a victory for hope against fear. This election, combined with the election of 2006 shows that the days of winning based on striking fear into the hearts of people have gone away for now. This election showed that people were more interested in hearing candidates talk about solving the country’s problems than casting their opponents as America-Haters.
But we can’t stop there. And under no circumstances must we take up the Right’s role of blind support for the President no matter what he does. Barack can count on me to support him as he closes Gitmo and ends the occupation of Iraq. But if he suddenly sees these things as absolute necessities for America or if he decides that continuing warrantless surveillance is a good thing, I pledge to be just as loud in denouncing him as I was of the unlamented George W. Bush. I elected a leader committed to the rule of law, transparent government, and engagement with the world. If Barack Obama turns out not to be that man, I’ll happily donate to a primary challenger in 2012 and even to the eventual Republican nominee unless it is Sarah Palin.
But I’m hoping that you and I and so many Americans judged rightly last Tuesday. The coming months will tell. Please join me in watching.
God Bless President-Elect Barack Obama. God Bless America and every other nation in the world. May we see the fruits of partnership at home and abroad over the next four years!
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