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funksands On November - 5 - 2012

 

Seems like yesterday…

November 5th, 2008

To my sons:

Yesterday something amazing happened. We knew it would happen, and got to watch it happen over a very long period of time, but its still amazing.

Yesterday Barack Hussein Obama won the election to become our next President. And that is amazing. At 7 and 4 years of age, you don’t care much, and you may not care much when the next election comes around either, but I assure you it was amazing.

Our country is in a tough spot right now. Financial markets seized up a few months ago, banks are going under around the world. Money itself stopped flowing anywhere in the world for 48 hrs. People everywhere are losing their jobs and the stock market seems destined for a very low, dark place. People are losing their life savings, giant automakers and insurance companies tremble, and war rages far away in places many Americans still have not heard of, let alone can pronounce.

We have become a fearful nation, a cynical nation. So fearful we started wars in Iraq under false pretenses. So fearful we have traded our civil liberties for safety. So fearful we now torture people with the legal blessing of the current Presidential administration. So fearful we have opened king’s dungeons in Cuba, to toss “enemies” into, never to be seen or heard from again.

Cynicism about the world around us, the structures of power around us, our media, our corporations, our fellow citizens, but most of all our government and our representatives up until the election seemed on their way to becoming a permanent fixture of the future too.

Worse somehow is the scorn the rest of world holds for us. Our promise and reputation, always far greater in self-regard, is now squandered. We have no friends abroad anymore, simply allies of convenience.

Like I said, it isn’t pretty.

But something interesting happened in 2007. A little-known US Senator from Illinois cast his hat into the ring on a frosty day in Springfield, IL. I watched that speech that day, and while I was moved by his words and passion, my own cynicism led me to mutter “good luck buddy” when he was finished, the deck was so stacked against him.

Why is that you ask?

Well, maybe things are different now that you’ve grown, but up until 2008, the idea of a black man with the name Barack Hussein Obama winning the presidency was a pretty novel idea. It just wasn’t done. His opponent, Hillary Clinton was supposed to become the first female President. That was the history that was supposed to be made in 2008.

What was interesting from the get-go was how Obama seemed to transcend cynicism. He spoke of lofty ideals again, and seemed to mean them. He challenged people to become better citizens, better people. But he actually sounded like he meant it.

What did he get in response? Scorn for his naivete. Speculation about his faith. Speculation about his birth country. Speculation about his motives. Accusations about sympathizing with terrorists, racism, fear-mongering. The more hopeful he sounded, the worse the attacks got.

Somehow our better natures prevailed and he won in sweeping fashion, promising to end the dark deeds that stain our reputation, to fix the broken economy, heck even to combat climate change! The Republican party was decimated in the Congressional races and has to figure out what to do now that it is minority party, a small party with a history of mis-management and mis-deeds, blood on its hands.

So what now? What happens next? This particular President faces incredibly daunting challenges that no other president, save Lincoln or FDR has had to face, maybe more so. But maybe, just maybe our better nature that was revealed on November 4th, 2008 will last a while longer. Maybe this is our turning point. Maybe now that everything is broken we’ll rise to the occasion.

Hope and Change does sound a little naive in the cold light of morning. My hangover doesn’t help either. But maybe, just maybe if enough of hope and enough of us change, we’ll get this big old boat slowly turned in the right direction, away from the icebergs.

In four years I’ll look back on this letter and we’ll see how far we’ve come, if at all. In 20 years the history books may not be kind to President Obama.

But at least for one night, a skinny bi-racial kid from Hawaii and Chicago with a funny name that was raised by a single mom got elected President of the United States. If he can do it, maybe all of us are capable of a lot more.

And that’s pretty amazing.

Dad

Written by funksands

There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know. Additionally there is bacon.

46 Responses so far.

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  1. Suzanne525 says:

    That is a wonderful letter, very moving to remember how that night felt and the very difficult circumstances we were in. I was so electrified when I watched Obama give the keynote speech at the 2004 DNC, not knowing who he was but having heard that he was an up and coming star. I was scared for him and a little disappointed after he announced. He’s too young; we should all get behind Hillary, I thought. I wanted her to be the first female president, yet by the time Indiana held its primary in May, I was fully behind Obama.

    I stayed up on election night, hoping to hear results before I went to bed. Don’t remember what network I had on, but from another room, I heard the words, “…there will once again be small children in the White House.” I ran to the TV, cheering and crying.

    Today I feel very calm, confident he will be re-elected.

    Thank you for posting your letter. I agree that you should send it to our wonder president.

  2. foodchain says:

    Funk, what a great letter and what a great memory for us. We were hosting a hopeful for victory party with what few Democrats we have in the northern Chicago suburbs. When Ohio fell, the cheers rang through the house and we watched the celebration in Grant Park. The diversity of age, race, culture, the multi-generational families, the tears and the laughter: it was just overwhelming

    I’ve been angered and saddened by the quick lack of support some democrats have shown. I hope by the end of his next four years those doubters will be cheering again. I will be.

    Thank you for sharing the letter

    (google has some great images of Grant Park- I just can’t seem to get them here!)

    • funksands says:

      “last election” rather.

    • funksands says:

      Food have fun tonight! We did the party last year and it was awesome. Just me and the fam this year. Not in a social mood and have some sick kiddos.

      I tell you, what perplexed me was 2010. The base of the democratic party and especially young people simply abandoned the electoral process. This after the Obama administration needed them the most.

      Now GOP governors, secs state, legislatures have redistricted, suppressed and voter id’d all of these swing states. Why? Because dems and liberals and young people couldn’t must the energy to GOTV in 2010.

      All of this bs in Flordia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin is a direct result of people not caring or pouting.

      Some lessons are learned the hard way I guess.

      • foodchain says:

        Funk, our big celebration was in 08. We too are not feeling so social; it was just too mean spirited and the news was just too unhelpful. We are having 2 close friends--no kids at home--just to divert us

        I won’t be able to join you all tonight until later if I’m coherent! :-)

  3. SueInCa says:

    Great letter Funk. I was one of the last ones on board for Obama and truth be told, I did not get on board until McShame played the female card by picking Sarah Palin. Upon hearing that and hearing her speak, I texted “Volunteer” to the Obama campaign and I have been as faithful to him as I would have been to Hillary.

    The outcome is still uncertain as I write this but I have to admit, I cannot support Mittnocchio if he indeed wins. I cannot support a liar and a cheat. I cannot support a draft and tax dodger.

    My only question is if people are truly patriots, how can they justify a vote for him?

    • funksands says:

      Sue your last statement runs through my head daily. I don’t get it. The only explanation I’ve been able to come up with is that Obama was elected when the US was on its knees in a very dark place. Once he stabilized it, citizens went back to their fascist-curious phase that Obama interrupted.

      • Funk, it’s not their love of Romney, it’s their hatred toward Obama. The RW spin and propaganda machine has been very successful. The constant barrage of lie after lie, playing on people’s bigotry and all the fear mongering about Obama being a “secret,” Muslim….etc.

        The churls actually believe all that crap. The gloom and doom machine has turned low info RWers into the most frightened people in America. I see it all the time on other sites.

        • funksands says:

          KT, I believe you, but I watched the American Experience on PBS over the last week or so about Clinton and his presideny (3.5 hours!!) And what they did to him was almost EXACTLY what they are doing to Obama except a bit more organized and virulent.

          The language, tactics, hysteria. Exactly the same. But the race factor does likely sharpen it.

          • Funny thing about fear, it shuts out any chance of reason or critical thinking. It’s a very potent weapon, and the people effected by it have little idea that they are being bamboozled. They see their fear mongers as helpful guides, instead of what they truly are, manipulators of the worst kind.

      • SueInCa says:

        Funk

        I hear you. I cannot understand especially Evangelicals that have always called Mormons cultists going back on that claim. If the church was a cult a few years ago, it still is. There are many in Iowa who will not go against their beliefs and I congratulate them for staying true to their faith. If Romney wins, this country is gone down the Rabbit hole and will never recover. People just do not have the will to take charge. It is obvious with the number of people the Kochs have led around by the nose.

  4. Nirek says:

    Funk, great letter! May we look back four years from now and see that Obama has completed his second term and his mission. We know his mission was to end out WARS, bring jobs back to America from the foreign countries people like Romney sent them to, and lower taxes for those of us in the 98%.
    God Bless America. And God bless Obama.

  5. AdLib says:

    A brilliant and poignant letter, Funk. Many have forgotten the emotions that were so powerfully inspired back then but your letter helps to bring them back.

    We’re all a bit older and hopefully wiser since Obama was first elected President but the remarkable nature of this man and the possibilities he represents are no less today.

    I am confident that tomorrow begins the second term of what has already been an historically phenomenal Presidency and I have a great deal of optimism about what the next four years can bring (cementing in the ACA and raising taxes on the wealthy are just a start).

    Looking forward to tomorrow and seeing Obama’s re-election come to fruition…and don’t mind the popping sounds, that will just be Bagger heads exploding.

    • funksands says:

      Ad, thanks so much. Wiser is a very good term. Everyone including the President learned a lot of hard lessons over the last four years. Here’s to “wiser”.

    • EXFANOFARIANA says:

      I am totally EXHAUSTED from volunteering, phone banking, blogging etc…Loved the post above yet, all TV sets/radios in my house are off.My nerves are wrecked…still very afraid they will pull another 2000/2004 scheister in OH….. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the President.GOBAMA2012!

      • AdLib says:

        Thanks for all you’ve done, EXFANOFARIANA.

        Though they have and will try to steal the election, Obama and the Dems know exactly what they’re up to and have scores of lawyers and observers in all the swing states to smack them down if they try.

        You don’t need to watch the blather on tv leading up to tonight but you might enjoy joining our live chat here as results unfold. It starts at 4:00 pm PST and will go late into the evening…as long as the margaritas hold out.

        • EXFANOFARIANA says:

          And I am not even American. Just have a green card and been working here for 8 years. I am Italian with a rather hot temper despite being from the North.Back in 2010 I’ve had my car vandalized grass rooting in a very RED area.
          Another question: how do I join the O/T or the live chat? I am no “techie” lady -- liberal arts were my area :): former ballerina and classical pianist albeit I do have a degree in psychology but never practiced it.Pls enlighten me here. Merci bien. A bientot….

          • AdLib says:

            The Obama campaign and the DNC have learned from 2000 and 2004, they have scores of lawyers and precinct watchers all over to act fast if any polling irregularities or fraud goes down.

            No way, the SCOTUS won’t be involved this time. It won’t be that close.

            And how about this, as of today, Nate Silver has Obama’s chances of winning at 90.9%.

            It’s happening.

            The election won’t be stolen this time and any attempted monkey business will be fought full force, Obama will never back down as Gore and Kerry did.

            Also, if Obama wins over 300 EVs, he could be in the position where any schemes in OH would be irrelevant.

            We’re winning this with the majority of votes and I predict the Obama will be declared the winner tonight.

          • AdLib says:

            EXFANOFARIANA, I think you’ll have a great evening! I’m with your husband on this, overconfidence can be an issue but there’s nothing wrong with confidence and with all the polls, big turnout and seeing the demeanor of the candidates, there’s every reason to feel confident about Obama winning.

            We’ll see you later, have a great party!

          • AdLib says:

            We have folks here from a variety of countries so make yourself at home.

            That’s messed up that your car was vandalized back then, just goes to show how anti-democratic the so-called “patriots” are on the RW.

            It’s so easy to join the live chat that begins here at 4:00 pm PST, either go to the Live Chat page by clicking “Live Chat” at the top of the page (for your convenience, here’s the link: http://planetpov.com/live-events/ .

            Also, the Live Chat will appear in the right column on every page including the Home Page, you can read and post comments there as well. If you don’t see it at 4:00 pm, just refresh the page.

            Hope to see you then!

      • funksands says:

        EX: Great job! I think you’ll be pleased with how the day turns out.

        • EXFANOFARIANA says:

          Thank you, funksands.I will share this article to my gang on FB. It also brought several tears to my eyes.Attended a FLOTUS gathering yesterday, waited about 2:40 hours to get in BUT BOY, was it worth it!

          Obama/Biden 2012
          ♥ ☆ ♥ ♥ ☆ ♥ ♥ ☆ ♥
          ¸.♬´¯`♬¸¸.♩¸¸.♬´¯`♬¸¸.♩
          ♥ ☆ ♥ ♥ ☆ ♥ ♥ ☆ ♥

          XX

          • funksands says:

            EX: That’s awesome! I’m looking forward to chatting a bit with you tonight. Let us know if you have any problems getting on the VOX

            • EXFANOFARIANA says:

              To be truthful, I couldn’t get it anymore…I was extraordinarily tired and nervous and hit the sack around 10:00 pm. The party moved one and my husband woke me up at around 2:00 am to tell me the good news…..It’s like I’ve dropped a rather heavy weigh off of my shoulders. The fact we won’t be hearing Mittiotic and Lyan any further brings so much joy to my existence..I will be checking out the discussion from yesterday! XOXOXOXOXOX

  6. bito says:

    Thank you funk for giving us this excellent refection on an historical night and time. It re-inspires me to wish the very best tomorrow and for the future of the country. We are in need of some positive feelings in this country and I think they are there if we just open our selves to them.

  7. Thanks you for sharing this funk. Not only is what you said beautiful but I think not only this president’s election but accomplishments will stand up to history if the president is reelected.

    • funksands says:

      KQ, I think you are right. The scale and scope of what he had to face the disloyal opposition that he had hindering him will be a long chapter in history and governmental affairs books for a long time to come. It almost did him a disservice. Because he kept everything from breaking, he didn’t get to get any of the credit for putting it back together. And thanks for the kind words.

  8. kesmarn says:

    Awww…funk, I remember this letter.

    It brought a tear to my eye then, and it still does.

    I hope that by late tomorrow evening you can write another letter to your sons. Guess they would be about 11 and 8 by now? And I pray that you can tell them how that skinny kid from Illinois/Hawaii ended up being an even better president than we ever imagined, in spite of opposition of the kind we also didn’t imagine.

    And that he saved the auto industry in this country, made sure people would be able to get to a doctor when they needed to see one, got rid of one of the world’s notorious Bad Guys (even though Dick Cheney is still running around loose…but hey, one thing at a time), and so much more.

    And then I hope you can tell them that the American people voted to give him four more years. That they voted in spite of many attempts to stop them from doing just that.

    Because that’s what Americans do.

    • funksands says:

      Kes, what’s funny is that I was soooooooo hung over and wrung out emotionally that I got my oldest son’s age wrong and a couple of other things too. :-) He turned 13 this year. I remember waking up and going downstairs and I was halfway to the kitchen when I was struck by a full-on panic attack that last night was dream and that somehow Obama had lost or something terrible had happened to him this morning. Oddly enough, that’s when I thought of writing the letter.

  9. Kalima says:

    Thank you for this funksand, it came from your heart and it touched me. Thanks to your president, America is no longer scorned on the international stage, and millions like me are waiting to see him do it again for another four years. I’m sure that your sons will very much appreciate what you have written here once they are older, and I’m sure they will thank you for the effort to explain how it felt in 08′ when Barack Obama became the first black president of the United States.

    Thanks again for sharing it here with us.

  10. SallyT says:

    There is only one thing I can say, Funkie, my usual line to you…..Well, there you go! :) Nicely done, Dad!

  11. AlphaBitch says:

    And that’s why I’m a FunkFan! I actually wrote him a letter about why I was voting for him this year, but it can’t hold a candle to yours, Funk. This is beautiful, and your sons are so lucky to have such a caring, amazing dad who documented his feelings on an historical occasion. Go Planet! We here rule.


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