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Robyn E. Blumner

The adults are back in charge

It started as a revolution. Three-million people didn't take to the streets with placards or pitchforks; they took to the Internet with credit cards and pocket change.

Then, democracy won.

I am brimming with goodwill toward my countrymen who pivoted on this electoral dime and moved us in a new direction. The United States of America has elected a president who is a constitutional scholar, a man of supreme eloquence and sound judgment who also happens to be an African-American.

This is a moment to savor.

I have always loved my country, but I haven't always been proud of its leadership. For eight long years we have been led astray by men who wanted to rule rather than govern. Their insuperably bad judgment has resulted in a nation mired in crushing debt, fighting a tragic and unnecessary war and facing an economic meltdown.

Now it is time for adults to begin the great cleanup. And on Tuesday, America voted for a public servant with the intelligence, capacity and the will to do the heavy lifting.

There was a time when I thought my countrymen would never see the true venality of Karl Rovian conservative rule. I thought these pols and their operatives, many of whom made their way into John McCain's campaign, had a winning formula for success, by dividing us on diversionary cultural issues and sliming opponents until something stuck.

But it turns out that irresponsible governance does eventually get its comeuppance. The consequences of the Bush administration's indefatigable efforts to enrich its friends and dismantle protective regulation has finally come crashing down on the rest of us so very hard that it could no longer escape notice.

Lucky for us that waiting in the wings was a man of remarkable qualities. Barack Obama is a historic figure not just because he is the first African-American to win the White House. He is a leader like Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who has come along just when his nation needed him.

Unlike the cynical line of George Bush who claimed to be a "uniter," Obama's message of unity was a defining theme of his campaign. Here is a man who stood up to the politics of personal destruction and rose above it by responding in measured tones, then calmly brushing the dirt off his sleeve. Even as they tried to paint him as a socialist and a terrorist sympathizer, he hewed to the higher road.

"Out of the many, we are one," Obama said in his victory speech, reflecting our national motto E Pluribus Unum. This coming from a man who embodies the phrase as a combination of white and black, American and African descent.

In the end, Obama proved that we are one nation. He won a huge mandate by taking more than 50 percent of the vote. He tore down barriers in the Old Confederacy by winning Florida, Virginia and North Carolina.

The impossible was possible. Appealing to America's best aspirations turned out to be the best way to win. He will govern with those same instincts.

"I will listen to you, especially when we disagree," Obama said to those who might worry about his plans for change. This is what thinking people do. They invite opposing views, knowing that they do not have a lock on wisdom.

Obama will be a president of our common values. He is not a man of vendettas and cronyism, who will use his election as an opportunity to grab what he can for narrow interests. Obama will govern with an eye to the future. He will choose investment over quick fixes and sober reflection over reflexive action.

This will be the sea change coming to Washington much more than a shift in political ideology.

The challenges going forward will be immense, but serious people who care about good governance are back in charge. It is just what we needed.

The adults are back in charge 11/08/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 13, 2008 3:46pm]
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