Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Results

Here's the rub, which I hope that you all have picked up on: Obama won!

Am I pleased with these results? Yes. Do I think they are amazing given our country's history of slavery and discrimination against people of color? Yes.

Are others disappointed, including some of my students? Yes. And seriously, that's ok to be disappointed. We're all disappointed when our guy doesn't win. I thought Obama's victory speech last night was very eloquent and understated-- the following was particularly historically resonant:
As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.
It reminds me of Jefferson's first inaugural address, where power transferred for the first time between political parties, from Washington and Adams's Federalist Party to Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party. At that time, Jefferson said "We are all Federalists, we are all Republicans."

I have many students today who are bummed out by the election results. I have been emphasizing the fact that Obama has said he wants to listen to those who disagree with him, that Senator McCain said in his concession speech that he was committed to helping President-elect Obama help out country through touch times. In addition, the history teacher in me needs to tell them that we are lucky to live in a place that has a long-established tradition of peaceful transitions of power from one political party to another. That our Constitution is a pretty conservative document and that the office of the presidency is designed to be well-balanced by the other branches. That it's wonderful that we live in a place where freedom of speech and the press are enshrined in our Constitution and that it's ok to not agree with and voice your opposition to the government and the president.


SKH said...

I love that you can take the mature route and not gloat in front of your disappointed students. Props for seizing the teachable moment!

cmk said...

Exactly and thanks! It's definitely difficult sometimes, especially when the kids come in spewing the crap they're picking up at home, but fortunately I have the final word. :)