Stale Content Alert!

This post was written a long time ago, and my views have almost certainly evolved since then. Please keep that in mind while reading, commenting, or sharing.

Editor’s note: As I wrote this, I started nodding off. It has been a long day. I may revise it later, to make it a bit more clear.

My friends and family, and fellow Americans:

We did it. We stood up across the country and made our voices heard. Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike flocked to the voting booths in incredible numbers, and many Americans made it clear: it’s time for change.

But as our new President-elect, Barack Obama, spoke from Grant Park in Chicago this evening, he made a point that rings true with me now. He said that this election has always been about us. It has always been about the American people. The change we want, my dear friends, is not something we should lazily expect from Washington. This is a government of the people, for the people, and by the people, and we have to remember that we have the power. Not gigantic corporations, not faceless entities. We do. This is our country, and we must remember to make our voices heard– and listen to those that are speaking.

Listen. Now that’s something none of us have really done in the last eight years. How many liberals, myself included, have shut out President Bush as soon as he mentions “nuke-yuh-ler weapons” in a speech? How many of us have become so proud and angry that we’ve begun viewing the opposing party as a bunch of enemies? How easy has it become to look at someone– a well dressed businessman, or a casual-looking college student– and think, “Well, they’re a conservative,” or, “Well, they’re a liberal”?

The unfortunate fact is that we’ve allowed ourselves to make our political parties more than political. What was once only an issue around election time has permeated every day of our lives, and “Republican” and “Democrat” carry weight even when they shouldn’t. We see our neighbors as “like us” or “not like us,” and no idea has ever been more divisive than that.

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