Election 2008 Obama Politics

Real change is still hard.

[digg-reddit-me]At this point, more than half of the Democratic electorate has voted for a candidate. And the voters are almost evenly split between the two frontrunners. It is an election that has captivated the country. Yet still there is deadlock. Real change is hard. And it can only be won with perseverance.

Our children will read about this election in their history books; and a dozen years from now, we will read about the battle between Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton for the heart and soul of the Democratic party. Both candidates have emerged as savvy competitors; given Ms. Clinton’s reputation as a ruthless competitor, her resilience is to be expected. But Mr. Obama has proven in the past few weeks that he can take a punch, and he can throw one, and that he can hold his own against two of the toughest political brawlers in America. It is time to put to rest the fiction that Mr. Obama is too pure for politics, or too pure to win. He is a politician – and a good one. He has proven his ability to fight in the trenches of a political campaign – and the fact that he still maintains some semblance of ethics should not be held against him.

It is always difficult to see the broader patterns emerge watching cable news and following the latest headlines. We are too caught up in the present; and the future is veiled. But from my all-too-caught-up-in-the-present position it is clear that Barack Obama’s vision, campaign, and candidacy is the only one directed to our particular historical moment.

With neither Mr. Obama nor Ms. Clinton able to declare victory tonight, the campaign will continue.

But there is one thing I take from today – something that cannot be taken away. This morning I woke up early, to vote on my way to work. I signed my name on the roster, went into the booth; I flipped the toggles for Mr. Obama and his delegates, and pulling back the curtain, registered my vote. As I left the polling station and walked out into the brisk morning, I suddenly felt an irrationally strong surge of exhilaration. I felt like I had pulled some successful bank heist, as if I had just gotten away with something I shouldn’t have been able to do, as if I had somehow gamed the system.

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I had gone into a voting booth and voted for a candidate, rather than against the rest of the politicians on the ballot. It was an odd feeling, an exhilarating experience – and one I hope to repeat in November.

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