As this long and grueling presidential campaign nears it’s final week, it is time to reflect back on where we have come, what we have seen happen, and why. How did Barack Obama, a first term Senator from Illinois, a virtual unknown when this process began nearly 2 years ago, manage to defeat the powerful Clinton machine and now stand on the brink of being elected President of the United States.
To put it in a few words, he is the right man, with the right message, in the right place, at the right time in our country’s history.
While I agree with Obama’s economic policy of lessening the income disparity and putting purchasing power back in the hands of the middle-class, and I agree with his stance on getting our troops out of Iraq and drawing that war to a close, neither of those are the transcendent issues that are facing our country, in my opinion.
The most important problem we face is spanning this chasm of partisan political division and public discourse that is eating away at our society like an aggressive form of cancer. In this election, our only hope of building a bridge across this divide and restoring some sense of common purpose among all our people is to elect Barack Obama.
I believe Colin Powell had it exactly right, Obama is a “transformational figure” at a time when our political system is in need of transformation perhaps like no other time in our nation’s history.
And in this election our choice is crystal clear. Do we allow the politics of division and personal destruction to win and in so doing insure another 4 years of partisanship and bickering while the problems facing us go from bad to worse? Or do we at least start down the road of putting this country back together with the only candidate capable of doing that.
Here are the closing paragraphs from an article Andrew Sullivan wrote in December of last year that sums it all up for me:
“If you believe that America’s current crisis is not a deep one … if you believe that today’s ideological polarization is not dangerous, and that what appears dark today is an illusion fostered by the lingering trauma of the Bush presidency, then the argument for Obama is not that strong.
But if you sense, as I do, that greater danger lies ahead, and that our divisions and recent history have combined to make the American polity and constitutional order increasingly vulnerable, then the calculus of risk changes. Sometimes, when the world is changing rapidly, the greater risk is caution. Close-up in this election campaign, Obama is unlikely. From a distance, he is necessary. At a time when America’s estrangement from the world risks tipping into dangerous imbalance, when a country at war with lethal enemies is also increasingly at war with itself, when humankind’s spiritual yearnings veer between an excess of certainty and an inability to believe anything at all, and when sectarian and racial divides seem as intractable as ever, a man who is a bridge between these worlds may be indispensable.
We cannot let this moment pass.”