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Sometimes we get it right. As a nation, we've shown something important to the world - The best night in my memory of politics

By Andrew Pollack on 11/05/2008 at 08:10 AM EST

Last night the strong center of American political thinking stepped out and said "Enough". It isn't every day that any idea or candidate can capture the support of such a wide cross section of our country. In nearly every measurable demographic other than the most hard core neo-conservative right wing base, Americans united to say that no matter what differences on individual parts of the Democratic message they can no longer stomach the abuses of power that have defined the last eight years.

That's what the system is designed to do, and that's what it has done. You read about the remnants of racism and discrimination in parts of the US, but have you embraced the minority populations as completely?

I was born in 1967.

I of course have no memory of Kennedy.

I remember Nixon resigning, and Ford's pardon.

I remember the endless days of the Iran Hostages during the Carter administration.

I remember Reagan's reassuring strength and the wall coming down.

I remember being let down by the cynical back door arms trade with Iran and the Contras as a once great President aged and lost focus.

I remember Bush Senior committing the dual sins of making unpopular decisions and being boring at the same time.

I remember the early hope of the Clinton administration being mired in missteps and the over reach of an ambitious first lady who didn't have the trust of the people behind her.

I remember the growth of Clinton into a real statesman just a little too late and the scandal that -- on looking back -- wasn't all that terrible.

I remember the promise of a new Republican president who was going to bring responsibility and accountability to the office -- and what a total misdirection that turned out to be.

I remember the destruction of 9/11 -- and knowing as it happened that the Constitution was next.

I remember staying up for days to find out who would be President, and liking neither choice -- but respecting Gore for finally agreeing that it was resolved.

I remember being disgusted by people who couldn't accept the loss being legal. It was, to the best of our ability to make it so.

I remember Kerry being torpedoed first by his own party, and then by aging cynical liars.

I remember being sick at seeing runaway abuse at Abu Gerab

I remember being sick on hearing descriptions of torture being sanctioned by my own country.

I remember being embarrassed by the way our country was being represented on the world stage, and by the actions of our nation.

In my own memory of Politics, I have never been as reassured, as proud, and as hopeful as a result of an election result.

I know that Barak Obama is far from perfect. I know there will be mistakes, scandals, and decisions I don't like. I know at some point I'll be disillusioned and disappointed. For now though, all I see looks positive. It looks to me now, before the shine has worn off, that we've elected a careful, intelligent man with character I can respect and the decisiveness to lead. A well educated, well spoken man with the ability to think before he reacts and the confidence to listen to the best advice he can find and then make his own decision.

Today I feel good about the state of the country going forward.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Sometimes we get it right. As a nation, we've shown something important to the world - The best night in my memory of politicsBy Dwight Wilbanks on 11/05/2008 at 10:05 AM EST
re: Sometimes we get it right. As a nation, we've shown something important to the world - The best night in my memory of politicsBy Axel on 11/05/2008 at 01:38 PM EST
I guess we are at the eve on a recesion, so it won't be easy, anyway.
But you can be assured, that a half-turk with a hippi-mom won't be elected as
german chancelor for a long time.
And yes it looks like a great choice.
re: Sometimes we get it right. As a nation, we've shown something important to the world - The best night in my memory of politicsBy Jef Reynders on 11/06/2008 at 03:45 AM EST
@ Axel: I heard an interview on the local radio yesterday, only a few hours
after Obama's victory speech and someone commented that "America has proven us
wrong in more ways than we imagined".

The common prejudice of Americans is that they're a bunch of rednecks & racists
who'd rather watch their country sink to the bottom, than let anyone else than
a white male win the presidency. After all, if the Dutch already go crazy over
a mayor with Morrocan (grand?)parents, Belgian couples refusing to be wed by a
black city council member, your average Algerian person having no hopes of
becoming e.g. the mayor of Paris and the chances of a Turk becoming chancellor
of Germany being slim to none, surely the US most be even worse?

And yet Obama, who's as far from your typical presidential candidate as you can
be, was elected with a large (electoral) majority. Let's hope it can serve as
an example for Europeans as well.
re: Sometimes we get it right. As a nation, we've shown something important to the world - The best night in my memory of politicsBy Erik Brooks on 11/06/2008 at 07:20 AM EST
I definitely couldn't say that "all I see looks positive." You've got a
president-elect who has a history of being pro-removal of certain rights, is
for removing choices from state governments, and more regulation. On top of
that you've got the continuation of much of a horrific congress with an
approval rating that's been in the gutter.

Obama also has a lack of experience that will make or break his presidency.

But he does have promise that we haven't seen in a long time - a younger,
inexperienced, but intelligent man. *IF* he can avoid corruption, and *IF* he
chooses great people to surround him and *IF* he remains fairly centered as has
been advertised as of late, then he could be great for this country.

If, on the other hand, he believes that the Constitution "got it wrong," then
he could change this country at a core level in ways that our founding fathers
never intended.

We'll know over the next 2 years. I didn't vote for him, but I'm keeping my
fingers crossed for him.
re: Sometimes we get it right. As a nation, we've shown something important to the world - The best night in my memory of politicsBy Andrew Pollack on 11/06/2008 at 01:04 PM EST
Ok, I guess I'll bite.

Removal of Rights: Which ones? I don't recall any. Are you speaking of
gun ownership or something else? I don't know his stance on the 2nd Amendment
very well. I seem to recall he said that the rules that make sense for the
inner city don't always make sense for the rural countryside when it comes to
gun ownership. I'm certainly comfortable around firearms and used to shoot
competitively a little, but I'd agree completely that the rules governing
ownership and use may need to be different in different places.

Horrific Congress: I wouldn't say horrific, but I would say ineffective and
impotent would describe the last few years. I think my reasons for that would
be pretty different from yours, however. I'm sickened by how they've let
themselves be hogtied by the Bush administration rather than forcing a
definitive stop on those things they claim to appose. I'm fairly happy with
my own representation from Maine, however, and hope for the best. I'm
disappointed in Barney Frank right now, because he should have done better from
his position on committees and hasn't.

I agree with your "IF" questions though. I absolutely dread finding serious
corruption in this administration. I have no doubt mistakes and poor choices
will happen, but serious corruption I have hope we can avoid. I have a fairly
high confidence that he'll have smart people advising him, that he's smart
enough to listen, and independent enough to end up making up his own mind once
he's listened.

As far as the Constitution getting it wrong -- You'll have to be more
specific. From where I sit, sadly, it has been the right, not the left which
has been selectively ignoring or cynically avoiding following the spirit and
letter of that sage document.
re: Sometimes we get it right. As a nation, we've shown something important to the world - The best night in my memory of politicsBy Erik Brooks on 11/06/2008 at 04:46 PM EST
I may have been confusing about the "got it wrong" comment. I'm not claiming
that he currently thinks that about the Constitution, but rather that we'll see
by his actions if he thinks that way or not. There is the Fairness Doctrine,
which many would argue is an attack on the Freedom of Speech (and at least a
stifling of the talk radio industry). We'll see how that plays out. You're
absoultely correct about the Right -- they've been horrible on many pieces of
our basic rights for quite awhile.

I do view forced donation to entitlement programs as a removal of a right --
you might not, and we could debate that back and forth forever and would likely
never change each others' opinion. So I won't go there.

So let's talk guns... Obama has expressed many anti-gun sentiments.

My biggest concern, though, is with his wanting to prohibit concealed carry: "I
am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing
concealed carry."

I've got no problem with background checks, state regulations, waiting periods,
etc. But a *Federal* ban on concealed carry worries me greatly.

Obtaining a concealed weapon permit is currently a state-level function, and is
a significant undertaking requiring time, money, background checks,
fingerprinting, etc. Once you have such a permit, you can carry (depending on
the state) guns, knives, etc.

But there's also a practical side: For me (a 6' tall, strong male) a knife is
definitely an effective weapon that I can use to defend myself if attacked.
But in the hands of my 5'2" wife, a gun is a MUCH better deterrent for a
rapist, murderer, thief, etc.

There are many cases of lawful citizens who, by having concealed-carry
firearms, have protected themselves and countless others from criminals, the
insane, etc. (many of whom didn't properly lawfully acquire a gun in the first
place). Over the past 20 years many states have started issuing
concealed-carry permits, all with subsequent drops in violent crimes. The
corrleation between banning guns and a subsequent increase in violent crimes is
easily verifiable across many states and several other countries.

England, for one, has had a massive increase in knife attacks. So now
(according to a cab driver I spoke with in London a few months ago) they're
looking at passing legislation to make the sale and manufacturing of all knives
*with a pointed end* illegal. So next I'm sure they'll see a corresponding
increase in Phillips-head-screwdriver crime. Or leather puncher crime. You
get the idea.

I have my concealed carry permit, and I'll tell you what did it for me:
Several months ago I left a Wendy's here in Florida after eating lunch. 40
minutes later I heard on the radio that a shooting had just occurred there. A
man walked into the restaurant, *7* minutes after I left, and started shooting

There was an off-duty police woman there, but she was shot in her gun arm and
couldn't draw her weapon.

I understand people who say "Well, if we banned guns then he wouldn't have had
access to them." That'd be nice but, as history shows, criminals don't usually
pay attention to bans, or the law in-general. If there's a market for
something, someone will provide it.

Banning law-abiding citizens from carrying firearms doesn't prevent those
willing to break the law from doing so. Banning concealed-carry would've had
zero effect on this guy. The best thing in the world at that point would have
been for some law-abiding customer that *had* a CC permit to fire back.

With Obama in place, and especially with the probability of him being able to
appoint a Justice to the Supreme Court, those of us that follow the law could
be stripped of this defensive right.
Single Issue? Fairness Doctrine?By Andrew Pollack on 11/06/2008 at 05:05 PM EST
I'm never going to agree with you on concealed carry, but you must know that
already. It explains one reason why you would vote as you did. But why is
that particular right so much more important than habius corpus, and so many
others that the Right wing has attacked in the last few years?

I just don't get it.

BTW: The so called "Fairness Doctrine" makes a good scare topic, but its dead
and it will stay dead. The supreme court has consistently ruled against it in
every form that comes up and Pelosi can say a lot of things but it won't

Concealed Carry is not likely to change from being a state issue either. There
just not enough support to change it and isn't likely to be.
re: Single Issue? Fairness Doctrine?By Erik Brooks on 11/06/2008 at 05:34 PM EST
Did I claim somewhere that CC is more important than habius corpus? I
definitely don't believe that. I think you're inferring from my statements
that I voted for McCain. I1 didn't.

I've got no problem with you disagreeing on CC. If you don't want to carry a
weapon, that's your choice. And there are some good reasons to not possess one
at all (children being a great debatable one). But I don't want Obama taking
that choice (or any, really) away from any of us.

I hope you're right that it won't change from being a state issue. I hope
you're right about the Fairness Doctrine, too. Either one I see as a direct
attack on our basic rights, just as the Bush administration has done with
habius corpus these past few years.

That's what scares me. The Washington DC gun ban that was overruled recently
passed with a mere 5-4 in the Supreme Court. The fact that Obama probably
would/could appoint somebody to the court that would have made that 4-5 is the
part that bothers me.

Don't get me wrong. I think there's a *lot* of promise in the guy. But I
definitely don't see him as "all positive" as you stated.

I'm curious -- did you prefer Hillary to Obama in the primaries?
That one is easy.By Andrew Pollack on 11/06/2008 at 05:44 PM EST
I could not have voted for Hillary Clinton. Had she gotten the nomination I'd
have been very upset because I could not imagine voting for any republican
candidate at this time, but no, I couldn't vote for Hillary either.

I don't trust her to make decisions based on even the most remotely similar
basis that I do. She always struck me as a controlling type who wants to be in
government because she believes she knows best for everyone even if they don't
agree. That's no different from George Bush, even if they don't agree on the
definition of what's best.

Either Obama or McCain is a big step up from that.
re: That one is easy.By Erik Brooks on 11/08/2008 at 03:45 PM EST
I agree 100% with your assessment of Hillary. Frankly, she scared me big-time,
and I would MUCH rather have Obama in the big seat over her.

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