To have my personal wellbeing, and that of so many people I know, wrapped up in the outcome of a presidential election – this is a phenomenon unprecedented in my experience.
When and why did this election become so important? It’s not just the economic crisis. It’s not just the failures of the Bush administration. There’s something else going on, something unlike all of the previous elections in which I participated.
As strange as it seems to me, I know that my personal wellbeing is teetering on the brink, and only a democratic victory will make me feel comfortable in my skin again.
What makes this election so different for me? It’s not the historical precedent – that of a presidential candidate who is half black and half white. It’s the man himself. It’s that he has a shining intelligence and a palpable empathy with the people of this country that I haven’t seen or felt since the early 60s.
I lacked maturity during the Kennedy era but I remember that I felt then, as did many other Americans, that there was something in the man that transcended the precedent that he was setting – that of being the first Catholic president. That ‘something’ was a quality in the man himself – a young man, largely untested, but with the intelligence, the charismatic appeal, and the capability to transform his time.
I haven’t felt as I did then – until now. There’s a lot riding on today’s finish. There’s a lot riding on this man who carries in his blood the divided nature of our past, and in his hands – the promise of our future.