I recognize the Ziff Law Blog is not really a forum for political talk, and I know I risk offending some of you by posting about a topic that has charged so many people and forced us to consider where we are as a nation and where we hope to one day be. However, this morning, as I went about my daily work, writing letters to insurance companies and returning phone calls to clients, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was profoundly different about the world today and I needed to take a moment to reflect upon what has happened.
In the interest of full disclosure, I admit I supported Barack Obama from the start, though I respect John McCain and the sacrifices he has made for our country.
I also fervently supported Denise Juneau, my best friend from law school who became the first Native American woman in US history to win statewide office when she was elected Montana’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction last night by over fourteen percentage points.
However, this moment is much more encompassing than right v. left or red v. blue. It is bigger than social issues and political agendas and talking points. And, to me, it is more significant than the election of the first black president, though the importance of that milestone should not be understated.
The most profound aspect of the election’s outcome is our ability to finally join the global community of the 21st century. It is no secret that our policies and actions over the past eight years of not only caused concern at home, but have resulted in substantial ostracism abroad. I had an opportunity to spend six weeks abroad in 2001 and again last winter, and I assure you global sentiment toward the USA was neither positive nor optimistic. Regardless of whether dismal global impressions of the USA were based upon sound reason, they were real, and deep and startlingly pervasive.
This year’s presidential election gives us a chance to earn back our reputation for being the land of hope and opportunity, a place where anyone with a dollar and a dream can take a chance and make it big. Barack Obama delivered an inspirational speech last night in Grant Park, where he described the mood of our nation:
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled — Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
Change has come, no doubt about it. Whether we wanted change or not, its here, and we are all about to embark on an uncharted path together. These are exciting times, and, if nothing else, I am really happy to be alive and see where we go from here.
Thanks for reading,
Christina Bruner Sonsire, Esq.