Three reasons why it’´s a new day in America
About 8:30 last Tuesday morning the phone rang. As I peered at the caller ID noting an incoming “California call,” my natural response was to let it go. It was, after all, Election Day and the logical assumption was that it was yet another robocall from a desperate campaign looking for new depths to stoop to. Already our friendly robocallers had informed us that Obama was a terrorist sympathizer, a Marxist in disguise and a baby killer who supported partial-birth abortions, so I decided to pick it up just to see what last-minute slime they’d come up with.
To my surprise it was not that disembodied voice I’d come to expect but a real live person, a young-sounding male voice asking for Janet, my wife. She took the phone and motioned for me to get a pad and pen and start taking dictation, which I dutifully did. As soon as she hung up, I knew — in my heart I knew — that we were going to win the election. In a matter of moments I’d been given the three reasons why Barack Obama was on the precipice of becoming our 44th president.
Reason No. 1: If it was 8:30 here, that meant it was 5:30 in California. This guy, probably a volunteer, was already working the phones, getting out the vote on the East Coast, mobilizing the ground troops for the long day ahead. But these weren’t your ordinary troops.
Reason No. 2: My wife had answered an e-mail from the Obama campaign asking for help in getting handicapped people to the polls. Janet, wheelchair-bound with MS herself, has a customized handicap van with a fold-down ramp and hand controls that enables her to have some modicum of independence. Since we didn’t have a great deal of disposable income to donate to the campaign (although we were two of the 3.2 million spare-change Obama contributors), this was her way of helping out the cause.
Reason No. 3: Arebela Moore. The voter Janet picked up was an 80-something African-American lady, frail of body but sharp of mind. She said she hadn’t voted in a long time but felt she had an obligation to vote in this one. She had no idea how she was going to make it to the polls, but the Obama volunteer who’d registered her made sure her name went into a database of folks who may need assistance in getting to the polls, just as Janet’s had gone into a similar database of people able to provide assistance.
And that, brothers and sisters, is how we prevailed; in a nutshell, that’s why there’s a New Day in America. These three individuals are the metaphor for the most well-conceived, well-organized and well-lubricated machine in the history of American politics. This will forever be the template on how to put together an unbeatable juggernaut and how to run a flawless campaign. Contrast that with the pathetically inept, lurching, unfocused, stumbling and bumbling cast of self-serving ideologues McCain put together, and you have to wonder how they even managed to make it as close as it was.
Although I was still worried — because that’s what I do — until Ohio turned blue, in retrospect all my fretting and sweating was unfounded. This one really was over early, long before Nov. 4 even. The handwriting was on the wall months before he plucked CRABWOMAN and Joe the Plumber out of obscurity and latched onto such throwaway lines as “lipstick on a pig” and “spread the wealth.” Those were merely signs of a campaign in collapse, symptoms of the problem rather than the problem itself.
For the past week we’ve made a game of trying to pinpoint exactly when it was that Obama won it or that McCain lost it. In reverse chronology, was it Sept. 15 when McCain declared the fundamentals of the economy were sound; was it the first debate, when McCain refused to look Obama in the eye; was it when Obama drew a crowd of 200,000 in Germany while McCain was sucking on a chili dog with Lindsay Graham in Ohio; was it when Obama rejected federal campaign financing, knowing he could outraise that total before the convention; was it when Obama got the endorsement of Oprah?
Well, it could be all of the above, and then some. But, truth be known, it goes back much further than that. Further than blindsiding Hillary in the Iowa caucuses, further than McCain getting the GOP nomination by default, further than Obama’s early opposition to the war on Iraq.
At its core, this election was won because it pitted the Chosen One versus the Sacrificial Lamb, one of whom had the winds of change, the tide of history and the wave of destiny at his back, while the other had the 1,000-pound albatross named George W. Bush around his neck.
The long dark ride is over. The world’s a brighter place today. Breathe, America, breathe.
Ogi may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on “Triad Today” hosted by Jim Longworth on ABC 45 at 6:30 a.m. Fridays and on WMYV 48 at 10 p.m. Sundays.