Last night a vigorously-contested election came to a conclusion with an inspiring declaration of vision and mission from President-elect Barack Obama and a moving statement of exemplary civility from Senator John McCain. Whether your candidate won or lost, every person who cast a vote in this election has reason to be thankful, proud and hopeful.
Our founding documents and the United States Constitution itself won a victory last night as a man who a few short decades ago would have been forced to sit at the back of the bus is now at the head of our government. There are real challenges ahead – some of which became readily apparent in yesterday’s election. But today is a day to pause for a moment and reflect on the historic nature of this election. A day to remember that the American Dream reflects realistic potential.
The diversity of people who reached a consensus about our next president points to the possibility of a more mutually respectful, unified country. The record shattering number of voters who participated in this election is a ringing endorsement of democracy and a stirring promise of greater and more broad-based civic participation. I believe that Interfaith Alliance is a vehicle through which that active participation can continue.
I am grateful that Sen. Obama coupled his soaring vision with down-to-earth realism. He knows that the amount of work to be done in our government requires more than a popular president. As the President-elect now turns his attention to the details of organizing and staffing his administration, we would do well to turn our attention to the contributions that we can make to the nation.
Today at Interfaith Alliance, we celebrate the vitality of our democracy and rejoice in the possibility of finally realizing long-awaited action on issues that beat in the hearts of most Americans. Our concerns about the role of religion in the life of the nation, individual rights and freedoms, care for the weakest and poorest among us and an international reputation characterized by inclusion, civility, liberty and justice still command our attention. But, we are also devoting ourselves to careful thought about the most important contributions that we can make to “the change” for which the majority of the electorate voted. Within the next few days I will write to you about the details of those priorities and how we can work together to achieve them.
Obama’s “soaring vision with down-to-earth realism” is something that’s struck me too. A wonderful combination.
Paul Maurice Martin