Call it a blessing, call it misfortune, call it whatever you like but the fact remains that the campaign with the hope-driven words “Yes We Can” can now change their catchphrase to “Yes We Did”. It is official that Barack Obama will be president number 44 for the United States of America.
Election day came to a close when Obama obtained the 270 electoral votes, and then some, making this the quickest election in recent times. The current electoral count is Obama-364 and John McCain-163 with only Missouri still up in the air.
No matter how the vote ended up, history was going to be made on Tuesday November 4, 2008. A victory for one ticket would have given the United States its oldest first-term president, McCain, who is 72 and the first female vice president, Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin. The other ticket would see the first African-American, Obama, moving into the White House and the first Roman Catholic, Senator Joseph Biden, to win the vice presidency. It is also the first time two senators competed for the position.
Another history making element of this election was the record breaking voter turnout across the U.S. Many polls reported a record number of voters even before noon on Tuesday. A lot of historians believe this is a sign of the new generation stepping up and taking their positions as the new voice of the country. This analysis is based on the record number of young voters this election year. Some even say that the Baby Boomer generation turned the country over to the New generation Tuesday.
Despite an Obama win and the high number of campus participation there are still mixed feelings all over the Missouri Western State University campus about the victory.
According to Independent MWSU senior, Jeff Powers, the victory was pleasant because Obama is more on a personal level than McCain. “I like the fact that Obama won because I think he’s more in tune with the people than McCain,” Powers said.
Dana Andrews, an independent progressive and Instructor of English at MWSU, is extremely pleased with the Obama victory. “I’m very happy that Obama was elected,” Andrews said. “I hope that people can start putting aside their differences and realize that we have some major, major problems that need to be addressed. I think Obama is better equipped to handle these issues because he seems more like someone who will talk with people as opposed to being confrontational. I also believe he’ll be fine when it comes time to defend our country because he is going to surround himself with people who do that, but I think first and foremost that he is more of a peacemaker than someone who is more interested in proving that they’re right all the time.”
According to Stephanie Ragan, a sophomore Democrat at MWSU, Obama offers hope. “I am thrilled about Obama’s victory,” Ragan said. “When I listen to him talk I feel hopeful for the future for the first time in eight years and I think that is what America needs right now is a little hope and inspiration.”
At the same time there is some skepticism around campus about Obama’s victory. Republican Senior at MWSU, Amy Marks is waiting to judge Obama on the content of his actions and not on the content of his words. “I believe Martin Luther King Jr. said it best when he said one should not judge someone on the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” Marks said. “Character is more than eloquent words, but reflected in what ones values in what they allow to influence their decisions. It doesn’t matter now who is in office but it does matter that we pray and encourage our leaders to actively make empathetic resolutions for all law making decisions from here on.”
In Arizona as McCain delivered his concession speech Tuesday night, he gracefully urged his supporters to get behind Obama for the betterment of the U.S. “I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited,” McCain said.“Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.”
In Chicago Tuesday night Obama offered words to his non-supporters.
“And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president too,” Obama said. And then he went on to offer his words of hope, the theme of his campaign from the beginning.
“This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.”