The work

And why it’s not over quite yet

I’m writing this having come from a speech by Karl Rove, held in Graham Chapel Monday night.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but the man manages to instill an even deeper sense of dread in person than he does on TV. Honestly, watching him talk is like watching a python feed.  So to bolster myself I have checked, repeatedly, every source I have come to trust over the past two years, and every single one of them points to an Obama victory.  By the time this goes to print, we’ll all know whether or not that trust was founded well.

But that uncertainty puts this article, the last I’ll ever write about this insufferable election, in a strange kind of place.  To keep this piece relevant, I would rationally have to project the implications of a McCain victory as well as an Obama one.  But to tell the truth, it is beyond my power to do so. I cannot rationally conceive of a world in which Sarah Palin is our Vice President.  It occupies the same cognitive territory as a meteor impact or a tidal wave. She recently took a prank call from some Canadian comedian who claimed to be Nicholas Sarkozy, president of France.  He eventually had to let her in on it, after he ran out of material.  This is after he praised the pornographic film “Who’s Nailin’ Paylin?” as an “edgy documentary.” So, if that is the case, then, well, sorry for wasting your time.  You may stop reading. The rest of this article discusses the other alternative.

So Barack Hussein Obama is the forty-fourth president of the United States of America. What does this mean? Well it is of course an achievement in itself, him being black and all. Hugs all around for living long enough to see this historic day.  But more importantly, Obama’s victory has more than likely carried his party to a majority in the House and the Senate. Liberalism lives again. The impulse here might be to gloat, to tell the Republicans we’ll see em again in 2012, don’t let the deficit hit you on the way out. Please resist this temptation. Not because they don’t deserve it. They do. It’s because we haven’t actually won anything yet. All we’ve been given is a chance to prove ourselves. That’s right, you first-time-voting, Obama-bandwagon-joining, election-delivering, knee-jerk liberal punks. You’re in it for the long haul.

You’ve got four years to take this farce of a party that it took 8 years of Bush governance, five years of a deeply unpopular war, untold trillions of sunken spending, an ongoing financial crisis, two hurricanes, and Sarah Palin to rescue from total collapse and turn it into a legitimate political enterprise. We will never be this lucky again. So how do we do do it?

In some ways we have it easy. Obama’s extensive online campaign has created a community that he can’t dismantle, even if he wanted to. We would be equally foolhardy to let it wither. Please, stay connected, stay involved, continue to care about the direction this country is taking. We can grow this community, and keep it vital. It doesn’t belong to Obama, but to us. And it’s easy. Just stay in the Facebook groups, keep blogging, whatever. The Internet has the power to connect us to every disenfranchised malcontent with a phone-line and a laptop. The Republicans have yet to marshal any kind of defense against this. I’m not convinced one exists.

Do not make the mistake of thinking we do not need to keep tabs on the man we elected. Let’s not kid ourselves, we’ve elected a question mark. But unlike president Bush, president Obama owes his success to us, rather than some shadowy cabal of oil tycoons and defense contractors. He cannot afford to ignore us. But the reverse is also true. In the coming weeks Obama will doubtless make some speech, issuing a challenge. He will talk of the harsh realities of our time, and speak of the sacrifices we will all have to make. He will demand we strive with him, to be active citizens, to participate in making this country great again. People will make comparisons to Kennedy. If you dismiss this as mere rhetoric, kiss power goodbye. His mandate is our mandate. If we divest ourselves of our political will, we deliver this country to the plutocrats.

We are the party of idealists, journalists, teachers, artists, thinkers whose chief faith is in the power of people to better this world. Republicans stand by tax breaks and family values, we by what our governance can accomplish. Wall Street is in the tank, many American business prospects are rocky, and medicine’s not looking as lucrative as might have seemed when people still had the money for Botox. There has never been a better time for gifted, ambitious young people like you to consider a career in government. If you’re committed to changing this country, there is a place for you in this presidency. Obama’s election will not fix anything if it does not inspire us to throw ourselves into the work. Do not fail him. And let’s show Karl Rove what Liberals can do.

Charlie is a sophomore in Arts & Sciences. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.