In January, President Obama will become accountable to the American people. No doubt he will disappoint and frustrate in some measure. Conservatives will hold his feet to the fire. Liberals — if they are smart — will knock the man from his pedestal and work to make sure he serves his country as promised.
Until then, I sincerely hope that partisans on both sides act with decorum and respect. No need to gloat, no need to pout. After eight years of division, you might try unity for size.
From our perspective outside of your shores, Obama’s win is inspiring. For the first time I can remember, the world is applauding America. It is true that our reasons are selfish and unrealistic. We care not for American tax policies, judicial appointments, or Joe the Plumber. We are looking for American leadership on a global scale, and Obama embodies, for us, an America willing to listen and lead. Obama will certainly let us down, but for now, it’s the thought that counts.
We find the election of an African American to be inspirational. From a country that abandoned slavery far too late, and whose record on civil rights has not always matched the rhetoric of its foundation, Barack Obama embodies a symbolic and profound fulfilment of the entirety of the American dream, Dr. King’s dream, which, of all the dreams dreamed by Americans, is surely the most prophetic, in the fullest sense of that word. Tears are appropriate this day.
Note well: these symbols should not matter after January. But for now, and whatever you think of Obama’s policies, I urge you to be proud of what was made possible last night. I’ve been looking around the Mormon internet this morning and I’ve seen great generosity (well done, thou good and faithful DKL), but also a disappointing outpouring of bitterness and cynicism. Given our history on race, Mormons need to be very careful at this moment. Show us that the symbol impresses you, even if it is fronted by an American with whom you disagree.
Please don’t embarrass the church. Make sure that Utah’s rejection of Obama can only be seen as political. Can you manage that until January?