I've been following this election closely for almost a year now, and I've been invested in politics since early in the 2004 cycle. By invested I mean I've given money to candidates. Howard Dean, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Al Franken, and a few others. I read the blogs and followed the polls. I followed the issues and I got as angry as I could over a parade of abuses and outrages. I have had a sense of national pain and shame.
Now, though there have been some disappointments, my side has won a stunning victory.
I don't even know how I feel about this. I'm relieved and happy, sure, but those feelings are somehow muted, much more than I expected them to be. Perhaps that's because the grim reality of the national hole we've dug ourselves into is weighing me down. In 2004 I thought things were terrible. They kept going along that trajectory for another 4 years, and I no longer even feel outraged. We have so much work to do, as a people, to correct our course. I know that president Obama will disappoint a lot of his supporters, even if he really is the best person for the job, the best president we could realistically get. There is just so much to be done, and undone.
On the other hand, I think there are so many reasons to be optimistic at this juncture. The internet and other emerging technologies are going to drive change for the next decade. Green energy, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering will fold themselves into the global network. It is an exciting time to be a part of the creative class in this country.
From a personal point of view, I feel better about my own future than I ever have before*. As I get older my goals shift. Right now I feel like I'm going to achieve them. I feel good about my next 20 or 30 years, in the same way that I felt good about this election. Even though it was hard fought, even though there were disappointments, and even though we have a long hard road ahead (I'm looking at you, prop 8), things are going to get better.
I want to be able to look back and read this blog, when I'm old, and remember what I was thinking. I want my kids to be able to read what I was thinking, when we elected Barack Obama. I tend to keep a lot of my politics between myself and my wallet, because I feel uncomfortable sharing it publicly, but this is really important stuff. It has more of a place in my record of myself than many of the things that I do end up talking about.
Today, Wednesday November 5th, I feel drained and dog tired, but very, very hopeful.
*even though I don't have a job!