It seems there are a few out there who do not understand the mood of this country at this historic time. They are called Republicans.
Someone I know recently remarked that he hasn't seen a jubilance like this moment in this country since V-J day. (And yes, he was a young man at the time.) That struck me, because of my silly grin for the last couple of weeks, mirroring the one I began wearing on November 4th. I balance that with the sneering remarks from the right, many of them variations on "Obama the Messiah." Yes, I worry that we expect too much out of him. But I want to say to those who sneer: "You don't understand. It's not about him. It's about US."
Today, I saw coverage of Obama saying things he has said since long before the election. It won't be easy; we are only going to come through this together; we have within us everything we need to do exactly what is called upon at this moment; we must sacrifice. What we must understand is that this is a man who acutely understands history and the spirit of this country. America has done its best when this country is at its worst. This country transforms iron and coal into steel in the crucible of turmoil. We hurt, we rage, we suffer, but our fortune has always been that in the moments crisis threaten us, we have found the leaders who have challenged us to reach within ourselves and find our common spring. From it, from ourselves, flow the waters that replenish us, heal us, and bring us to new days.
No one can think Obama is sugarcoating anything. He certainly isn't. He is telling us that things are awful, they're going to get worse, and we're going to suffer. Isn't that a prescription for defeat? Not at all, not when that man informs us that we have within us the resources to endure and flourish. And we do. He tells us what we fully know. What those few who sneer don't understand is that we hunger for this. We have hungered for this since the old call to ask what we can do for our country. We have hungered for the man who would look at our spirits' empty bellies and say, "Only together can we fill them." We have hungered for the man who would see the country in crisis, tell us the truth, and say: We have what we need. It is within us.
This country has been in constant crisis since the days of Viet Nam. We have been beset on all sides by anger, ignorance, frustration, and the erosion of the spirit that nourishes us. We've seen the false populists come and go. We've seen the incompetent come and go. We've seen the cheerleaders come and go. But has it really been since Kennedy that we have had a man who said to us, "We are the people we have been waiting for"? Has it really been nearly fifty years since we were told that we, together, can accomplish so much more than us, apart?
Yes. At last, we have what we have hungered for. We are called to sacrifice, and we say, "At last!" We are called to service, and we say, "We can do it!" A man, a solitary man, calls us to unite, and we say, "Thank you!"
Is it any wonder we respond with the biggest, most powerful, most sincere outpouring of affection and admiration since those halcyon days of Camelot? He asks us to do the impossible, and tells us that we have it within us. And we, together, tell him: "Yes, we can."