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Voting - a cathartic experience

Posted: November 4, 2008 9:25 p.m.
Updated: November 5, 2008 4:59 a.m.
On Monday morning, syndicated columnist Reg Henry predicted, in his humorously folksy fashion, a tidy victory for Barack Obama.

A fast cruise past Internet sites likewise indicates all pundits predicting everything from a squeaker to a more likely blowout for Barack.

At this writing, the tiny township of Dixville Notch, N.H.. has already concluded voting, powering Obama over McCain, 15-6.

Bush twice won handily in Dixville Notch, so it appears from all credible sources we're off to hopeful start.

Thus victory is my story, and at 8 a.m. Tuesday, I'm sticking by it.

Observers, Democrat and Republican alike, are widely struck by the passion exuded by Obama supporters.
It's not infatuation for Obama the candidate; conviction runs much deeper than just a charismatic figurehead.

Still, Barack Hussein Obama personifies and embodies Democratic hopes and dreams for what America should have long ago been, and what it must now be, beginning this very day.

This is a great expectation to place on any one young man. Some see enthusiasm for Obama as tipping too closely toward personality cult.

But those critics are out of touch with what's behind the Obama "Change We Can Believe In" movement and what's going on in the minds of Obama supporters.

Obama happened along at the ideal moment, and cosmic chance and his own preparation has it that he is the ideal and most capable vessel for the movement.

Obama's polyglot American race, his eloquence and incredible American Dream life story - all enhance his stature to give deep resonance and voice to the movement behind the impassioned placards, slogans and votes.

Without Obama, the "Change" movement would still yet exist. But with Obama, the movement's voice is amplified with loud, humanized, ringing clarity.

Two full years ago, Obama hit the nail right on the head when he launched his campaign under the banner, "Change We Can Believe In."

Those five words still send shivers down the spines of Obama supporters. Outsiders wonder why that phrase is so visceral and why support for President-Elect Obama has been so intense. Obama inspirationally articulates the ideals enlightened thinkers hope for our nation: A return to level economic playing fields for all Americans.

Peace through rational diplomacy, not just through war. Transparency in government. And most of all, a return to justice for all, regardless of economic stature or privilege - or even nationality.

However, the "Change" movement isn't just about where we want to go. Its every bit as much about where we so desperately want to run from. The Obama ascendancy represents closure to the worst chapter in recent American history.

Voicing our indignation
Voting Obama gives cathartic expression to our indignation for the evils committed by George Bush and the compliant Republican congressional cohorts who have passively enabled Bush's crimes against our nation and against the world at large.

One might venture that Obama's election represents a sort of national penitence for the sins of the past eight years. A turning from torture, from unjust war, from devastating incompetence, and from economic warfare against America's own citizens.

The notion of national repentance embodied in a candidate might sound outlandish - but eight years of suffering under Bush has brought us to our knees, needing to come clean and start anew.

Can you imagine any candidate further in every way from the person of George W. Bush? In so many ways, from race, to upbringing, to name, to speech, to political intentions, Barack Hussein Obama is the antithesis of George Bush. That the political pendulum has swung so far demonstrates our vast, deep, reactive contempt for everything George Bush and the devastation he has wrought.

Nothing, not even Obama's emotionally charged middle name and atypical personal heritage, will get in our way of renouncing George Bush. We feel dirty and defiled by the vile deeds George Bush caused America to commit. Barack Obama represents the "cleanser" by which we forcefully reject Bush and repudiate Bush's stains on the nation.

That is the raw, visceral emotion behind Obama supporters' thinking.

We're elated for the rejection of Neoconism and for our newly charted course returning toward real American values of compassion and progress for the middle class. Some 42 percent to 49 percent of the electorate will have indicated they don't share these views. This morning they may feel fearful, contemptuous, and uncertain for their future.

If this defines you, I urge you just a little patience and fair mindedness. Much of the fear of change has been artificially manipulated and stoked by a Republican smear machine of previously unknown scale. It will take awhile for the foulness of that stench to wear off your psyche But if you give things a chance, you might just find yourself quite happy with the new and more peaceful, cooperative and thoughtful direction for our beloved nation.

It's a new day
So today begins a new day for America and for the world. Peace-loving peoples celebrate. Republicans may sit in sackcloth and ashes and wonder how everything fell apart. Congressman McKeon (for whom I voted) told me just the other day: "Failure of leadership - especially presidential leadership."

He cited mishandling of the war, Republican budget-busting overspending and the gross incompetence demonstrated during Katrina, as being the big sins that "done them in." For six years Republicans held near absolute power, and absolute power corrupted them and defiled us.

All that was until yesterday, when We The People united under a very special president elect. Today is a glorious day for freedom and for democracy in America - and indeed, for the whole world!

Gary Horton lives in Valencia. His column reflects his own view, not necessarily that of The Signal. "Full Speed to Port" appears Wednesdays in The Signal.


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