“Why is Bush acting like he tryin’ to get Osama?
Why don’t we impeach him, and elect Obama?” -Common, 2004
When I heard those words four years ago on Jadakiss’ “Why” remix, I thought they were cute. To be perfectly honest, I thought the only reason the freshly elected Senator was mentioned in that couplet was because his name better rhymed with “Osama” then Hillary’s did. I also thought that impeaching Bush was a more realistic possibility than electing Obama any time in the near future. As inspired as I was by his red state-blue state speech at the Kerry convention, and as much as I would have liked to envision a country progressive enough to elect such a transformational figure, I just didn’t see it happening. This was, afterall, the same country that had just elected W. to a second term after starting an unjust war, violating the Geneva Convention, making a mockery of the United States Constitution, and stripping Americans of our civil liberties. Most people I talked to who voted for Bush in 2004 conceded those points but supported him on the grounds of “being a better Christian,” since he opposed gay marriage and abortion rights. While I myself am right-of-center as compared to other Democrats on those issues, Americans were haplessly letting them take precedence over preserving the very fabric of our civilization. In a sick twist of irony, America was increasingly resembling a Taliban state in the years following 9/11. Gone were the days of freedom and prosperity — they were replaced with periods of confusion, depression, fear, and ignorance, and a society that seemed hell bent on being duped by its government.
In February 2007, I wrote: “What McCain has going for him is that of the four leading candidates, he’s the only white Protestant male (which every President besides JFK has been). Is that alone enough to win, even being the most similar to Bush, who currently has an all-time low approval rating of 34%? I hate to say it, but it might be.” Clearly, I did not have much faith in my country at that point. Given the prevailing political and social climate, I assumed it would come down to petty issues once more. As time went on and I saw the traction this man was picking up, my cynicism began to fade. It also took close to eight years of disastrous policy, but towards the end of Bush’s second term, the country on the whole began to feel its effects. The economy had been in a downward spiral for some time, but it took its literal collapse unto itself to fully awake the majority. Even by the end of the primary season, I realized that victory in November was inevitable. Still, what I’m feeling today is surreal. When you think of the moments in history that everyone will always remember, they tend to be tragic: when the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, when Kennedy and Dr. King were assassinated, when the Towers fell. It’s so encouraging that America finally has a proud moment of this magnitude to cherish forever.
A new day is upon us. Never before have I felt more fortunate to be alive, nor more optimistic for the future. God bless America!