My nephew, Logan, was born in March of 2007, just about a month after Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination. I desperately want to use his 17 months on the planet as a metaphor for this 2008 primary season. But I won’t. Instead, I will simply say that after hearing Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, I slept like Logan.
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My sister tells me that last night, Logan watched the entire speech, mesmerized. He hasn’t really gotten into TV so it rarely holds his attention, but last night he pointed at the screen, talked and looked back at her and my brother-in-law and smiled. I’d like to think that in looking at the face and eyes of the man that would dare to be president, Logan saw the same bright future that I and his parents wish for him and his sister, Ryann. When Logan fell asleep, he was grinning ear-to-ear and so were we.
I slept like Logan last night, not because I think Barack Obama has this election in the bag. Indeed, quite the contrary. The Obama campaign and its allies will have to work even harder because, as Obama made clear in his speech, the 2008 election is not just a competition for the White House, but is more importantly and more lastingly a competition for the hearts and minds of the American people and our way of life. Last night, in just under 40 minutes, the improbable reality that the Democrats could very well win this thing became very real for a lot of Bush Republicans. They will not take this laying down.
I slept soundly, despite the fact that I know that the Rove machine will redouble its efforts and that the McCain campaign will seek to galvanize the too many people in our Nation, who are reliably swayed by their fear and prejudice, their self-interests, and their out-dated world views. That they, in sharp contrast to Barack Obama, will appeal to the basest of instincts that inspire a narrow-minded cronyism and simple unwillingness to truthfully engage the real threats to American security that has destroyed our moral authority in global arena.
I spoke to many of my friends and family and they also reported sleeping well last night, despite knowing that there is so much to do and so little time to do it. With the stakes so high it would seem natural like-minded Democrats, Independents and Republicans committed to Obama’s election would feel anxious about making the personal sacrifices necessary to conduct massive voter registration drives, raise tons of money, volunteer thousands of hours to go door-to-door canvassing and being a part of a Get Out the Vote effort like no one has ever seen in electoral history.
And yet, millions of us went to bed with a smile on our faces because for the first time in a very long time we stopped holding our breath and exhaled. We relaxed because once again, the Barack Obama campaign demonstrated in the acceptance speech and throughout the Democratic Convention, the temperament, judgment and leadership needed to win this election. We just have to believe and follow. Not a hard thing to do on the 45th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. We slept peacefully, because we knew our candidate and campaign was ready. No more preparation was needed. It was time for a good night’s rest because in the morning the real work would begin.