Four years ago today, I was in high school, not knowing what my future beheld, closely following the American election. Later, when Obama was elected, I remember the developments surrounding Obamacare, and the Thanksgiving cliff-hanger that went with it. In those four years, the United States went through an enormous process of change. Of course, these four years have not been idyllic: the economic recession has had (and still has) major impacts on people’s lives, and partisan differences in Congress diminished the reach of the Obama Administration in many of its plans. Nevertheless, policies promising change have definitely been delivered. The ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy was eliminated, women’s rights and LGBT rights were further endorsed, a more universal health care system was passed, the war in Iraq was ended, Osama bin Laden was killed, taxes were made more progressive and the US combat forces in Afghanistan are on their way out.
Today, I am in university, studying in the city where it all happens. I canvassed for the President, followed debates closely, openly endorsed the administration and its policies, and am celebrating, still, after Tuesday’s victory. Together with the GW College Democrats, we watched how election results came in slowly, with CNN making the suspense more tolerable. It is impossible to describe the energy and excitement that was buzzing through this room the entire evening. Everybody was fired up, and, as soon as it became clear Obama had won Ohio, essentially securing his victory, ready to go to the White House. The mob of students that took to the streets was enormous. D.C. was buzzing, people climbed in trees on the White House lawn, secret service police had to guard the fence, the national anthem was sung loudly, American flags waved everywhere, people were shouting ‘FOUR MORE YEARS’, some were crying, others were blatantly drunk, and amidst of this chaos I was there. I was there, and I was happy as can be, because I knew that somehow, I had contributed, if only a little, by campaigning for the President, by openly endorsing him, and by talking to people who were not yet entirely convinced.
Obama Victory Reaction – GWU Democrats Nov. 6th 2012. Credits go to Olivia Lewis.
Obama Victory Celebrations outside the White House Nov. 6 2012. Credits go to Olivia Lewis.
In four years from today, the United States can start to look back on a decade of fresh leadership and progressive policies. Tuesday’s victory means that the President can finish what he started, and create a historical legacy of moving America forward at a time of economic hardship plaguing the American people and the world at large; at a time of a shift from a unipolar international order to a multipolar international order, with all the challenges this brings, politically, economically and militarily; and at a time of enormous divisions that split up the American political landscape. It may not be easy, but, like the President says:
(Best part: from 1.05 onwards)
“I believe we can keep the promise of our founders. The idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.
I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.”
(Obama’s victory speech, Chicago, 11-07-2012)