09 November 2008


as the presidential election results continue to resonate, spreading ripples of speculation and discussion, one fact remains remarkable to me. barack obama's winning majority was evenly distributed among nearly all voting groups -- whites, blacks, latinos, democrats, republicans, older voters, younger voters, gays, straights, men, women. about the only group he didn't fully penetrate (no surprise here) was unreconstructed white southern conservative males. if one looks at a map of the shift by voters toward democratic candidates nationally (see http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/map.html and click on the "voting shifts" tab), most of the nation reflects this change. except the bible belt, where red persists. i have a feeling that over time, these folks too will be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. or failing that, they may disappear through attrition.

i digress. the numbers tell the story. obama, 364 electoral votes. mccain, 162 electoral votes. undecided, 12.

in actual voter numbers, obama, 65,431,995. mccain, 57,434,084. undecided, 1,159,079. (source: http://news.aol.com/elections/2008/president )

landslide? you betcha. mandate? well, yes.

as has been his pattern throughout his political career, obama appears to be acting "with all deliberate speed" in assembling his transition team, and soon his cabinet. he is drawing upon the proven talents of people he's worked with in the past, as well as upon the expertise of people who are familiar with the minefields of washington, dc, politics. in short, a coalition.

it is this which leads me to believe that neocon fears of a radical shift to the liberal left in policy and legislation, are only that: fears. my prediction is that obama will create a centrist administration which, while unmistakeably liberal in its philosophy, will seek to address the needs and desires of the populace as a whole. no small task. as abraham lincoln put it so memorably:

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country." -- Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.

lincoln and obama have much in common: both represented the great state of illinois in washington. both are guided by an evolving, far-reaching vision. both are hopeful that the better side of our natures will prevail. both have been tempered by personal adversity. both are informed by an awareness of the greater good. and both are gifted, transcendant orators. lincoln surrounded himself with a cabinet made up of allies and adversaries, both. obama appears poised to do the same.

but one can carry such parallels only so far. we live in our own times, guided by our own angels, contesting with our own demons. today, more than i have been for many years, i am hopeful of the outcome.

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