Tonight, Derek, Paloma and I joined about 20 MoveOn.org members for a Obama speech watching party. It was historic; I didn't want to be home alone for this. I wanted Paloma to experience what it was like to witness history with a group of engaged, smart, active people.
Oh, the irony that a group of Focus on the Family folks tried to pray for rain on the Obama stadium speech. Perfectly beautiful weather tonight-- but it looks like a hurricane is about to hit the Gulf Coast just in time for the Republican convention. Doing a heckuva job!!! (And I'm just going to say it. They're great beach volleyball players, but Misty May and Kerri Walsh sounded like idiots with their "Yay Mr. President! You're doing a great job!" They are completely clueless. To be expected-- they've been focused, laser-like, on the important task of winning a medal at a beachy sport. Super duper.)
Back to the speech: I cannot tell you how grateful I am to Obama for FINALLY TAKING BACK patriotism for progressives! I am done, all done, with Republicans/conservatives claiming to be patriotic. With people who fear questioning and fear thinking so much, they cannot imagine that those of us who say "America can do BETTER than this" are patriotic.
"The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.
So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first."
I am ready to be proud of being American, but like Michelle Obama, it has been a LONG FUCKING TIME since I've been proud of this country. The past eight years have been about shoddy governance, sub par education, a weak economy, a broken health care system, an illegal war that had ZERO to do with terrorist attacks, and in general the moral strength of a newt.
Republican platitudes like "freedom isn't free! Keep our country safe and strong!" make no sense with their style of governance. Can they not see that the country is less strong than it was eight years ago? Without the kinds of common sense positions Obama advocates, there's no way to "keep our country safe and strong!" Keep praying for rain...
But let me end with this from Obama:
"This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.
I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.
You make a big election about small things.
And you know what - it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.
I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.
But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.
For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it - because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time."