President Obama’s name didn’t appear anywhere on yesterday’s ballot, but the national punditry (justifiably) made it about him. As for the results, it was pretty much as expected. I wish the national trends went more blue and California went more red, but the election is over and it’s time to look forward.
It’s easy to get caught up in the polling, gaffes, and debates over the Tea Party. The hard part? Remembering that many politicians on both sides of the aisle fight hard to win elections not for self-aggrandizement, but because they care about their community and want to help their countrymen. There are so many important challenges facing this country. It will take the courage and hard work of politicians from both sides of the aisle as well as motivated citizens to overcome the everlasting obstacles to progress: shortsightedness, greed, prejudice, and laziness.
I feel fortunate that we have a president who is working hard to overcome these obstacles to make this country a better place. When I was following his campaign for president in 2008, I never thought that things would change overnight. And frankly, I didn’t want them to. As frustrating as it can be sometimes (especially regarding civil rights issues such as ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’), I believe that Obama’s incremental approach is the right one. I know that talk is cheap and actions are far more important, but Obama’s “It Gets Better” message helped me, for just a moment, forget about poisonous partisan politicking and think about how political figures can be a force for good. Maybe I am looking for anything remotely honest and positive during this post-election hangover, but I do know that Obama’s words give me hope that one day, things will get better.
“We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage – that it’s some inevitable part of growing up. It’s not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe forall of our kids…
The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. And more than that, with time you’re going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You’ll look back on the struggles you’ve faced with compassion and wisdom. And that’s not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place.
It will mean that you’ll be more likely to help fight discrimination – not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. It means you’ll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it’s so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. That we are able to see the world through other people’s eyes and stand in their shoes – that we never lose sight of what binds us together.
As a nation we’re founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves. That’s the freedom that enriches all of us. That’s what America is all about. And every day, it gets better.”