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Let’s step up together
Editor, The Times:
As we contemplate the enormous challenges ahead for President-elect Barack Obama, let us remember that this election is significant not only for the first African-American president of the U.S., but also for its mobilization of millions of Americans who have not been engaged in the process of democracy before [“Obama to the White House: elation and disbelief,” Times, Politics & Government, Nov. 4].
The challenges ahead are just as much ours as citizens as they are Obama’s. Together we have voted and brought a change in the direction of this country. We must stay engaged in our democracy by communicating with our elected officials, sharing our best ideas and listening carefully to the ideas of other citizens. We must “reach across the aisle” to find solutions to our problems that work for everybody — rich and poor, conservative and liberal, white people and people of color, gay and straight, natives and newcomers, religious and nonreligious.
The challenges ahead will not be met by the new administration alone. They must be met by all of us. Then we will know the gift of democracy as we have never known it before.
— Sandy Tribotti, Seattle
A brand new day
Nov. 5, a dear friend e-mailed me from overseas:
“I wish to express my admiration and congratulate you all for the wonderful expression of the democratic spirit and tradition in yesterday’s presidential elections. Amid an economic crisis and political rifts and infighting the American people have proved once again that during times of emergency and distress they are able to pull themselves out of the mire and present a shining example of enlightenment to the rest of humanity.”
It is a new day in America. U.S. citizens voted in record numbers to elect the first black president, breaking racial barriers and engendering hope for change.
President-elect Barack Obama, a brilliant and talented man who has captured the hearts and minds of so many, has already evidenced steady composure in the face of dire national circumstances.
On election night, it was powerful to see celebrations in Chicago’s Grant Park, where 40 years ago young people were teargassed for protesting the Vietnam War. It was powerful to see jubilant celebrations across the country, and especially at Martin Luther King’s church in Atlanta, where a dream has finally come true.
Obama has reawakened hope not only for us, but for the world as well.
— Bambi Litchman, Tacoma
Put the race card away
If there’s one good thing about the election of President-elect Barack Obama, I can now logically expect to never hear of the race card being played again.
Not one person of color (including me) can ever use the color of their skin, a broken home or a humble beginning as an excuse to not succeed in this country. If a half-black man raised by a single mother who claims to have not had much as a child can become the most powerful man in the world, then there are no more excuses for anyone else, either.
And since he was billed as the solution to our country’s problems, then I don’t want to hear a peep about gas prices, taxes, government regulations or any other policies under his regime from anyone who voted for him. You get what you vote for — no more complaining.
— Amanda Josiah, Enumclaw
United, we rebuild
On Nov. 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected president. I finally opened the bottle of champagne that had remained closed for the past two presidential elections.
I remember vividly my shock and anger in 2000 and my deep melancholy in 2004.
Many of my Republican friends were so jubilant that they failed to see the overwhelming gray that colored my view of our country. As a result, I stood by and allowed an administration to dictate how my own elected officials would represent me.
My dear friends, I urge you not to do as I did over the past eight years. I can feel your emotional struggle with the outcome of this election. Continue to question, challenge and involve us in intelligent,
nonreactionary debate. We have our differences, and those differences are precisely what gives our country its beauty and strength.
Half of your countrymen and women believe and hope for a positive future with this new leader. Together, with all of our differences, we must learn how to unite our fierce independence and rebuild our trust in our country and in each other.
— Joyce Gehl, Seattle
From sea to shining sea
Congratulations to the U.S. on President-elect Barack Obama.
After a lengthy battle, America has finally made a decision and the world is elated.
Obama seems to have inspired everyone and this is a very good sign.
However, when I woke up this morning, the sun was not shining as he said it would, so I know he will have many important issues to contend with.
This man will need all his youth, energy, speeches and smart people around him, to succeed in the years ahead.
As much as I am happy for Obama, I am sad for Sen. John McCain. He is a good man who earned America’s trust, loyalty and love through his efforts in life and as a servant to the nation.
We need more such men that are willing to put their nation first, in Canada and America.
America has always inspired me since I was a kid and I always wished for my country, Canada, what America has in hers: unity, patriotism and love — from coast to coast.
— V Jaremko, Delta, B.C.
Times have changed
More than 45 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Today we have a new president-elect, chosen by Americans who judged him based on the content of his character and not the color of his skin. MLK’s dream has come true, and his children now live in that nation he could only dream about.
Let all Americans learn that we are much stronger working together as partners than we could ever be working separately, even if we make separate efforts as equals. May this be the beginning of a new era for America.
— Duane Grindstaff, Kent
Fulfill MLK’s dream
Even though I oppose the policies of President-elect Barack Obama on most issues, I still feel happy that we have elected our first black president.
I voted against him, but I still am glad that so many people are happy about it. It really is Martin Luther King’s dream coming true at last. It is a wonderful day. We have finally proved that racism is fading away in this country.
But there is an ugly side that I’ve noticed in the pictures of people celebrating last night. There were two pictures where people said “bye” to Gov. Sarah Palin and had a cardboard cutout of her.
It seems like we have got rid of anti-black bigotry, but have replaced it with anti-Christian bigotry. These people have no reason to hate Palin, other than that she is Christian. Seriously, they need to ask themselves why they hate her so much. Is it just pure anti-Christian bigotry?
Martin Luther King was a Christian. So in an ironic twist, it seems that King’s dream of racial and religious harmony, so beautifully spoken in his “I have a dream” speech, is only half fulfilled. We have racial harmony, but not religious harmony.
— Tim Clark, Mountlake Terrace
Just wait and see
It may be that it was time to give a symbolic balm to the old wound left by slavery’s legacy. Electing President-elect Barack Obama satisfies that residual longing for rectification.
However, this clever politician had disguised his “we are the same” philosophy so well with the assistance of an adoring liberal media lost in the aroma of a shared idealism that the majority of voters failed to recognize it.
What happens when his “spread the wealth” doesn’t work, when those who wouldn’t take responsibility for their own productivity remain poor even with their token government gifts taken by force from those who produced them?
What will he do when the clamor will be to give more and there will be nothing left?
Much is made of the fact that this is the first Democrat elected with more than 50 percent of the vote since Former President Lyndon Johnson. Look where that got us with “his” Vietnam War and the Great Society programs that had to be abandoned.
Enjoy your victory but in the words of Vice President-elect Joseph Biden, “mark my words,” the messiah has not arrived on this Earth.
— John Woodbery, Monroe