America has cast a vote for hope On Nov. 4, 2008, history was made in our country. Barack Obama made history by becoming the first African-American to be elected president.
But he is not the only one to make history. We as Americans stood our ground and voted for change. We as Americans have embraced a new idea, one that has been lost for so many years: the idea of hope.
While staying up to the wee hours watching the results of the election, I heard the word "hope" many times. It sounds like just a word, but it is a word that has resonated around our country and even the world.
Barack Obama faces a hard road over the next four years. Our economy needs a lot of shaking up in order to become strong again. I ask all Americans to stand together and try to create a unity in our country that has been missing for so long.
Barack Obama can give us change and can lead our country by working on ending the war, expanding health care and of course working to help the people of this country out of the deep hole that was dug over the last eight years. However, we as strong Americans need to work together, smarter and harder to insure our new dream will become a reality.
Nancy Dively, Tarpon Springs
Barack Obama is not my president
Congratulations America, you've just elected the most inexperienced and unqualified president in history! If I write a couple of books and come up with a snazzy slogan maybe I can become president someday, too. Instead of focusing on the issues, a cult of celebrity revolving around race, "historical precedence" and "Bush hatred" drove voters' decisions in this election.
I desperately hope that Barack Obama will govern from the center and succeed in the next four years. I fear it is more likely though that he will weaken our country's military and foreign policy, which will invite attack. I fear the economic damage he will do will take decades to recover from and that he will mortgage my children's future. I fear the erosion of our traditional values on his watch and the toll it will take on our country.
Obama is not my president and will never be my president. While I may hope that he succeeds for the better of our country, I and roughly 56-million other Americans must prepare for the fight ahead, a fight for the principles you believe in.
Every piece of legislation, every judicial appointment and every executive decision should be challenged. Vote and register others to vote. The campaign to get our country back in 2010 and 2012 starts now. That would be change that I can believe in.
Jason McIntyre, Tampa
Opposition will remain
Tuesday night America took a huge step forward, but we have a long way to go. Restoring our standing in the world and reversing massive deficits in trade and federal budgets will take years, to stay nothing of reforming health care and the credit markets.
Most of America is united behind our new leader, but the right-wing media and activists are not going away. Naturally they will fight every inch of progress in every way they can. And that means the full force of talk radio, filibusters and backward-thinking far-right activism. We can expect talking heads like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity will spew bitterness to rile up the fervent base.
But America has turned a corner. If you are a country-club Republican, a tax freeloader or a "social conservative," you have one choice left: Get on board or be left behind. Let's hope that we have defeated not just a candidate, but a mentality.
Scott Cochran, Tampa
Looking for healing
I voted for Sen. Barack Obama not because of the color of his skin. I voted for Obama not because it might be better for me financially. I voted for Obama not because it will improve my occupation (education). I voted for Obama not because of his plan to improve our health care. I voted for Obama not because of his positive stance on our environment. I voted for Obama not because of his economic promise to help the United States.
I voted for Barack Obama because he is the human being who, through his calm and logical and eloquent voice, can heal our world. From that, everything else will fall into place.
Beth Lindenberg, St. Petersburg
Can he say no?
In the Times' recommendation of Barack Obama for president and in their congratulatory editorial on his victory, the paper cautioned that Obama must learn to say no to his own party and to the special interest groups that influence his party. Unfortunately, there is nothing in his voting record to indicate that he will learn to say no.
The majority of the country is politically moderate. Obama has been part of the far left his entire political career. This does not bode well for him to work with Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats to do what's best for the American people.
Most politicians, when running for national office, make promises on the campaign trail to be a uniter and nonpartisan. Most of the time these promises are not kept. Obama will have to do a lot more than naming a token Republican to a Cabinet post to create a nonpartisan environment in Washington.
Louis Ciardulli, Safety Harbor
Reason to be proud
Putting political views aside, I think I'm starting to understand what Michelle Obama might have meant when she made the ill-phrased statement about being proud of this country for the first time. The people of our country elected an African-American man to the position of president by a large margin, when it was only 40-plus years ago that the country was deep in the middle of the civil rights movement.
We've come a long way in a very short time and this is the proudest I've ever been of my country and its citizens.
Glenn Smith, Tampa
Previously, I have voted for candidates I respected and trusted and in whom I had unwavering confidence. On Election Day, for the first time in 39 years, I approached my polling place not with passion and conviction, but with the uncomfortable feeling I was being forced to cast my ballot for the lesser of two evils.
Any sense of relief I'm experiencing after Tuesday has more to do with knowing I don't have to see another television ad approved by the candidate paying for it than it does with the actual outcome. I hope never to be placed in a position of such uncertainty again.
Thomas C. Rizzo Jr., Largo
Poll workers deserve thanks
I'd like to express a sincere "Thank you" to all the election workers in Pinellas County, in Florida and throughout the nation.
On Election Day our local workers were on site by 6 a.m. and often worked long after 7 p. m. The early voting site workers had days of extended hours. Their compensation is modest but their contribution is great.
Thank you for helping all of us exercise our democratic privileges.
Tom Oberhofer, St. Petersburg