I couldn't agree more Dee. There is not much more to be said that hasn't been said by every person the media. On November 4, 2008, I witnessed what was the most significant event of my generation. Electing an African-American as President of the United States was truly historical. It forever changes how we talk about the impact of the struggle for civil rights. While it does not come anywhere near ridding the US of the ugliness that is racism, it does change the meaning of "you can be anything you want when you grow up."
While the historical significance of this election is huge (1st black Presidential elect, 1st woman to come that close to being the nominee, 1st Woman Vice-Presidential nominee, most uneducated person to ever be nominated for Vice President, l-o-n-g-e-s-t e-l-e-c-t-i-o-n r-u-n EVER), what was just as important was how the election was won.
Obama revolutionized the way a campaign is run. Early on he described how he would run his campaign and he was told he would fail with his tactics. Through his experience in grass-roots organizing, and understanding of the younger generations, he was able to organize support in ways no one had before. Obama was able to take a generation with apathetic tendencies and get them excited about a candidate and a cause. He utilized the internet, facebook, youtube, and most importantly, the energy and support of the people who believed in him.
Obama raised far more money than had ever been raised and he did it in ways never done before, through a lot of small contributions. I, who never thought I would give money to a politician, gave more money than I thought I would ever be willing to and it was the best investment I ever made (so far it's doing better than my Roth IRA).
Obama branded himself early on. His message of change was so powerful and effective, that every single candidate on the left and the right adopted it and abused the hell out of it all the way till the end, everyone was all of a sudden "the real change candidate." Using simple words such as "change," "hope," and "yes we can," while never dumbing down his message or his eloquence, allowed him to speak to a a diverse country of people and be received well.
While he might have wavered on his policies or changed his view with the changing times (he WAS running for almost 2 years), Obama never changed his message. With so much money and so many opportunities to attack the right, Obama refrained (for the most part). He stayed true to how he believed a campaign should be run and it paid off. Obama showed that not only could you win an election running a positive campaign, but that you could win a campaign having expectations for the ctizens of the United States. Rather than appeal to the lowest common denominator, he appealed to the ideals and goodness of the American people. He promised to work for the people if they would work for themselves.
Obama proved that a black man could become president. He also proved that a young, intelligent, educated, respectful, idealistic dreamer could also become president. Not only did he win the election, he killed it. No one I talked to could remember an election being decided by around 8pm pacific time. He used his knowledge of the electoral college and ability to move people, young and old, to show the world how you not only win an election, but get people excited to work for you and with you, and move forward during these trying times.
Congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama, I have never been so proud to say that I am an American. While I am proud of you and the way your ran your campaign, I am equally proud of the American people, WE did it.
Now stop reading this blog and go do something for your community, he may not be president yet, but it's never too early to start helping out.