It is fitting that President-elect Barack Obama’s victory speech tonight took place in Chicago’s Grant Park, named in honor of Civil War general and former President Ulysses S. Grant who led the Union Forces to victory in a war fought, in part, to free the slaves.

When I realized tonight that Barack Obama would be the next president of my country, my mind and heart turned to those who gave their all and in too many cases their lives so this day would come. I think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass, Medger Evers, Rosa Parks and Coretta King along with so many others, of all cultures and colors who fought so hard and for so long so that we, as a people, would learn to measure each other, as King said, “by the content of our character and not the color of our skin.”

If you are an American, then I gently encourage you to reflect on something for a moment. Whatever your political views, whether your heart is soaring, broken or ambivalent by the results of tonight’s election, allow yourself a nice dose of pride in your country. The finalists in the race for the presidency were a courageous man who is a senior citizen, a woman, a hard nose scrappy fellow from a blue-collar Pennsylvania enclave, and a man whose mother was from Kansas and father was from Kenya. If you are not American, please reflect too that today’s election in my country, a country I truly do love, shows that the real spirit of America is alive an well.

I believe the dynamics and realities of today’s election may be the first step in healing our country and in healing our country’s relationship with the rest of the world. We have passed through eight years with a president and vice-president who deserve neither title and should , in my view, be tried as war criminals. They have trashed the constitution, turned the justice department into a complete and utter farce, and have done so without a sliver of conscience between them.

Yet, despite all they’ve done, the extraordinary truth that is the American people has spoken. Perhaps now we can get back to being the country our founding father’s and the constitution intended.

God bless America.



Written December 13, 2006

I am scared for my country.

Most of me believes the backbone of our democracy is stronger than any misguided leader. Today I heard our president in a press conference say “I want to hear from ideas and opinions.” I, for one, can’t remember the last time an idea or an opinion talked to me but then again I’m not the president. I am just an everyday guy who is limited to ideas and opinions expressed by, well, people.

I listened to our president say he had a “fruitful discussion about how to secure our country” with members of the Joint Chiefs, the vice-president (God help us all) and others. The president said our military was “taking the fight” to the enemy.

As I listened to him I felt and thought several things: frustration at the man’s inability to admit a mistake or admit a wrong, as if to do so would be an act of weakness. If admitting a mistake or a wrong is an act of weakness, Mr. President, how come you can’t do it?

I listen to him and I am heartbroken. I am heartbroken for the American men and women who have been killed and wounded and soon will be killed killed and wounded. I am heartbroken for the Iraqi men, women and children who have been killed and wounded and will be killed and wounded. And I am heartbroken for all the families.

I am angry too. We were attacked by Al Qaeda and their leader was and still is Osama bin Laden. When we were attacked we by and large had worldwide support when it came to going after Bin Laden and the Taliban. American people of all political persuasions were joined in their desire to lash back at and bring to justice those who slaughtered 3,000 innocents. But here is the tragic reality of the day; those that killed 3,000 innocents are an afterthought and Iraq is, by any measure, a disaster. We have just had a real bi-partisan report offered to our country by the Iraq Study Group and already I see the president discarding it.

I am scared for my country. My country has a president who wants to hear from ideas and opinions. I wish he wanted to hear from the people. After all, the American people are the ones that deserve to be heard. After all, it is their children that are being killed and wounded.