They History happened big time last night. Not that a black man was elected president. Not that one side, or the other of the political spectrum won or lost. This election was not about a changing of ideals. This election was about America, and Americans proclaiming that we are tired. We are weary and we have lost much. We have, by some accounts of our own people, lost our way. We have, by some accounts of our own people, lost our integrity, our strength, our direction in the world and our role as the world leader. This race, was not won by a candidate, or a political party, or a group. It was won by the American people, and it was won by the world.
To understand this, you have to realize that the American people voted not for an Obama or a McCain, for a conservative or a liberal, but because the number one overwhelming issue to them was their jobs and their livelihoods. For many people, this month will not be a happy one. Statistics show that we have had more bankruptcies these last few months than in all of 2007. More businesses, more people, out of work. More home foreclosures, more evictions, than in decades. We as a nation, are falling down, and there is no one to call to help us up. For many of us, we’ve worked all our lives to make something better and we tried, and tried but it was clear that finishing the race to something better was beyond us. We fell. We fell down running. Tired and exhausted.
It is easy, all too easy, to look at yourself when you’ve fallen down after a long and exhausting run and not get up. To lay there breathing hard and aching and accept that you cannot go on. To say, “I did my best, it wasn’t good enough.” and to give up. To lie down and rest and accept the defeat that is to come. To accept that your glory days are over and you’re not the kid you once were and someone else, some other nation can take the lead for a change. Someone else can be the nation that has the jobs and has the future that you once did.
That’s fine I guess if winning isn’t that important to you. If your race is well, just a race. Except when we fell, we weren’t alone. We fell and this was not a race to a finish line this was a race for survival. For every home owner, for every person without a job, for every person on this planet who depended on us to be strong to carry the lead to maybe not win the race but to just even make it to the finish line, this was a race for survival.
In the last few weeks, the world has waited. It saw us tumble and fall and in shock and awe it watched. Would America get up? Would her people give up? Would they lie down? Was it time for America to toss in the towel?
The world, has relied on us as a people, as a country, as a nation since before our founding fathers created us as a nation. For exports and imports and goods and services. When wars were fought, it was always America that could be counted on. When there was injustice, or the need for compassion and generosity – America was there. They may not say it – many may even bear us some anger for being that way. But they know it. America has always been the track star, the kid in school everyone wanted to be. Rich, successful, popular.
The funny thing about kids like that is almost always they have another story. A hardship, sometimes it’s money problems at home. Sometimes it’s a stereotypical drunken father or abusive relative. Sometimes its their own greedy or self important nature, pushing what they think on someone else because they’re bigger or stronger or they can. Sometimes they just aren’t that bright. We all know this. We all know that is who the popular kid is sometimes. But when he’s out there running – he’s running with your colors. He’s running for you and you may not like him, but you still want him to win the race. Because if he wins on some level you win. His successes, are sometimes tied to your own.
So the world watched, and the world watched us fall. And instead of getting up… we laid there. We laid there exhausted, and old and tired and without a breath left in us to run. And in the stands – people didn’t know what to say. People could only think one thing. “Get up.”. Get up and run! Please do not let this be over. Please do not quit. Please… get up.
They said, “You can still do this. It’s not over.”.
But when your house is gone, your job is gone, you have no money to pay the bills and the kids – your kids who never did anything to anyone are the ones suffering… look up at you and you have nothing to tell them… giving up looks good. And someplace inside us there is a voice when we look into those eyes that says, “There has to be another way. This can’t be it. It can’t be over.”. And the world, with baited breath hoarse from yelling on the sidelines yells, “Please Get Up! We need you.”. And our children and our grandchildren call out to us and they say, “Get up!”.
We find it someplace inside us to look for another way. To pull out from somewhere something inside us. Something primal that goes beyond exhaustion, that goes beyond what we feel but what we know must be done, and we stagger, and we get up.
Last night was about not winning an election. Not winning a race. Not a black man becoming president or a young man with young ideas becoming president – but about the American people once again rising. Once again standing on our feet and saying, “The race is hard, and I am tired, but it is not over.”. Last night was about the American people once again rising for each other, for the world, and saying, “We are not done. This is not over. We are America, and we never give up.”.
History will record that this was the year the US economy almost brought down the world. It will also record that this is the year the American people decided that they needed to get up. Get together. Fix our economy. Fix the worlds economy. Fix the mess that is this planet. History will record this is the day not that we won a race, but the day we, as a people got up together as one to win the most important race.
The race to save ourselves, and the world.