President-elect Barack Obama ran on a detailed set of policy solutions for many of our most pressing challenges. Neoconservative pundits and an anemic news media aside, he won the support of many political moderates for the depth and breadth of his platform coupled with the brilliance of his campaign. Barack’s best-selling book The Audacity of Hope lends a philosophical depth to these goals and describes nothing less than an American Renaissance.
It was also the main reason I joined the republican party in August of 2008.
I think we are on the precipice of something truly transformational. Barack has basically shown us an entirely new brand of politics and our challenge is to continue that transformation. He ran and won on speaking truth with candor and plain language. He won by treating his opponents with respect even while countering their more extreme tactics. He was as gracious in victory as he was in defeat.
Our challenge is to follow his example.
It was a challenge I accepted when I realized that the combination of absurdly low turnout for primary elections and an identity crisis could push republicans in a totally new direction. So I joined the party on its way down in flames, rather than hang with the winners on their way up. I could have just as easily joined the democratic party when I decided being an independent in a two-party system was a waste of time.
I have been called worse things in my life than a republican and have hung with a sketchier crowd than Lincoln and Roosevelt.. I also figured the democrats didn’t need moderate voices while the republicans certainly did. We have important goals to be met almost immediately and can’t be met by half the country alone. Given the number of moderate republican votes and endorsements for the democratic candidate this year, I am convinced an opportunity exists to transform the republicans into a 21st century party, much as Barack Obama and Howard Dean transformed the democratic party.
Barack said it best in his acceptance speech. This is just the beginning. We have more mountain above our heads than below our feet, but climb we must. There’s is no turning back unless it is falling to our deaths on the rocky shoals below.
We succeed or fail as a nation.