This morning is filled with a mix of reactions from across the nation and around the world about how to view last night's events. After a bitter campaign, one of the most widespread thoughts seems to be that we need to find a way to get along.
Let me tell you the real reason I'm happy though. In 2008, it was history and we were all filled with hope for the future. In 2012, I think that hope hasn't diminished. But, for most Obama supporters, the reality has set in that a better future only comes with really, really hard work and quite a bit of fight. In the end, there was no "enthusiasm gap." Only a quietly determined electorate well aware of how long a road we're on.
In the end, Mitt Romney's world isn't the America we want to raise our kids in. That's the real victory here.
Who really won last night? My 2 year old and my 1 year old. My son and my daughter now have a better chance of living in an America that is going to treat them with respect, give them opportunities, not leave them behind. My daughter, especially, has a greater chance of not just being treated "equally" for being a woman, but creating a destiny on her own, for herself, in her own right. They both can grow up in a nation more fully aware and inclusive to anybody who they may bring home as a friend...or date. Black skin, brown skin, no matter the gender. Yesterday we voted for tolerance. We voted for a government that doesn't ignore anyone and bends to uplift everyone.
My post-election recap about Grant Park was filled with euphoria. My post-election sentiment for 2012 is gratitude. Thankful for my neighbors. We want to be neighbors. We want community. We voted for each other, not just ourselves. The mood this morning isn't "happy" per se. It's the quietly determined attitude that just because you shout the loudest or have the most money doesn't mean you get more of a say in our democracy.
Our future isn't Republican versus Democrat. Our future is that this isn't your country. It isn't mine either. It belongs to the People. All of us. We all decide. Collectively. It's not even our government. It's our children's government. Those of you rightly concerned about our monetary problems, yes we need to fix those. But we also need to fix our poverty. Our inequality. Injustice. This nation will never be perfect...but it can always be better.
Barack Obama won 4 more years because you ignore others at your peril. Call it the anti-selfish version of American history. Yesterday was a choice between our rugged individualism and our sense of community and we picked community. Choosing to love your neighbor over ego is a lesson I'm proud to be handing down to the next generation.
In the end, Mitt Romney's America was one of greed, backward-looking, and petty. We picked the bigger man. We picked the brighter vision. We picked idealism. We picked...values...though Romney supporters probably don't see it that way.