Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Our Long Nightmare Ends: Welcome PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA!
It's finally here. The day we've all been waiting for -- for eight long years. Can you believe it? It can still be hard for me to grasp, to absorb, to accept. There's a surreal quality to the realization that we can finally leave behind the Bush-neocon-trash-the-environment-trash-the-economy-trash-everything-we-value era and move into a new day of hope, dreams, unity, reinvigoration, reinvention and healing. Into a time when WE -- all of us -- will be part of the equation, part of the solution, part of the renewal. (Photo: Obamas and Bidens wave goodbye to the Bushes.)
So many of us have worked long and hard, since 2000 or longer, to take our country back. Grassroots efforts picked up steam once it was clear that Gore had been robbed, that the U.S. Supreme Court had stopped the count in Florida so Bush II could be installed in the most unfair manner of any president in history.
The pace picked up further when Howard Dean announced his run for president in 2003 and wowed the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party with his "What I Wanna Know" speech. Dean for America Meetups sprang up all over the nation, including here. Many of us were there from day one, active in politics in a way we hadn't been for decades, or ever.
Dean lost, but his movement of citizens, netizens, netroots and grassroots power survived and thrived. DFA came to stand for Democracy for America, which sparked the formation of Democracy for New Mexico, and the work to blunt the BushSh*t kicked into high gear. The blogosphere grew and strengthened and became more sophisticated and effective. More and more ordinary citizens became convinced they could be powerful by working together, enduring.
Then into the Kerry candidacy, with activists everywhere working their butts off only to be stymied again, by the travesties of Ohio, by the travesties of Diebold touchscreens, by the moneyed assault of the right wing smear machine. But more and more of us worked for local, state and national candidates, causes and issues. We raised and donated money. We volunteered and canvassed and called. We got elected to posts all up and down the Democratic Party infrastructure, and helped Dean become Chairman of the DNC. We learned the territory. In 50 states. We pushed. We never gave up. We kept our eyes on the prize.
Then came the long primary season, then Obama the victor -- a miraculous win in so many ways, propelled by a 50-state strategy and a refinement and expansion of the Dean campaign in terms of grassroots organization and online innovations -- a truly interactive campaign. And on November 4th, 2008, we won it all. Here in New Mexico, Obama was victorious -- and we all had a hand in turning New Mexico True Blue, with Democrats taking back our three congressional seats and the U.S. Senate seat long held by Pete Domenici. Our entire congressional delegation is Democratic now. Mind-boggling, even to this day.
And here we are today, witnessing the inauguration of our new president -- our 44th president, our first African-American president, the first Democratic president of the 21st century -- with literally millions of people on the Mall in Washington, and millions more watching on TV or on computer, at thousands of celebratory gatherings across the nation. Into the future, and into an era where we confront and attempt to solve some of the most serious problems the globe has ever seen. Together. But we will keep at the activism, perhaps now more than ever. Dean is no longer DNC Chair, and who knows where his career will go in the future, but remember the message he drilled into our psyches: