A year ago today, we all went to the polls and proudly cast our ballots for the candidate we believed in and the majority of us voted for now President Barack Obama. It was a day I'll never forget and I've documented it with a soundtrack here, "Thoughts on Hope," "I Was There When the Dream Came True," "Election Day & Night Twitter," President-Elect Barack Obama's acceptance speech, "Hope in Action," and "Post Election Gratitude."
It was a day filled with hope and promise and general good feeling. People were civil, cordial and patient. They smiled at one another. Making our way through the Chicago with millions of people on Election Night, everyone was polite, dancing in the streets, and I don't remember hearing of any violence. People from all walks of life came together to celebrate the promise of hope and change and the new day that America had woken up to. I remember a feeling of seeing the world in crisp high-def color once again, rather than the grainy monotone images of the previous 8 years.
A year later I am still filled with that hope. I don't agree with 100% of the actions President Obama has taken. He's moved a bit slower than I would have liked. I'd prefer single-payer healthcare for everyone. I think DOMA and DADT are ridiculous and hate that our country treats anyone as second-class citizens, even if it's in limited ways. I'd like Gitmo closed now and for us to be completely out of Afghanistan and Iraq. I'd like to see some action on immigration reform. I'd like some tougher regulations for Wall Street. And for certain, I wish more jobs were created yesterday and over the last 9 months and that the economy were stronger.
But change doesn't happen in an instant. The decision to make change happens in an instant, but change itself takes time. Especially when we don't live in a dictatorship. Although there are moments when I feel like screaming "Obama won, get over it, sit down, and shut up!" to the people who seem to be hate-filled, I don't. You know, they're the folks carrying guns to town hall meetings and still filing frivolous lawsuits claiming President Obama isn't a natural born citizen and spewing lies about the health care reform and claiming he wrote a thesis about his disdain for the Constitution and generally engaging in fear-mongering.
Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post has summed up the last 9 months quite nicely. The only thing I would add is that the first piece of legislation signed into law by President Obama was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. As a woman, I applaud this move and can only say it's about time. President Obama has made great strides in repairing America's reputation around the world and as my mom always said, "you're nothing without your reputation." No longer being the laughing stock of the world is priceless.
I still believe in hope and if I've gained anything over the last year it is a reinforced belief in my favorite quote from the Bible. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 (KJV). I still have a great deal of faith. Faith and hope keep me going when times are tough. And for those of us who so strongly believed in President Obama's promise, we still need to keep working, holding him accountable, and holding onto our faith. The journey didn't end just because the election did.