It was that simple. I knew, without a doubt, in an instant, like I always do with really key moments and people, that someone had come onto the public scene that would change things. I sensed that my country had suddenly been given the gift of an extraordinary man and leader possessing brilliance, wisdom, common sense, and heart; a man with his feet planted firmly on the ground, aware of where he came from and determined to help all of us get where we had been desperately trying to go.
Last night confirmed once again, despite the ups and downs, that my gut, my instincts and my confidence were absolutely on target that night, now so long ago. I also remember the day you declared to run for the presidency, standing in the cold sunlight of that outdoor square in Springfield, and the sense of hope and determination I experienced that day that I hadn’t felt in far too long a time.
And then I watched, over the years, commenting in my column and now on my radio show, as the money-driven factions, fired by mean-spiritedness, outright greed and overt racism, attempted to distort the issues, take over control of this country and bring you down in the process. And I also grew disappointed of the disappointment, as I watched too many folks who had supported you grow impatient with you and the results far too soon, overlooking how hard the challenges were that you had been handed, and discounting the good you’d already accomplished against such great odds.
The line of basic decency and respect was crossed far too many times in the past several years by these factions, and their statements and intentions have been expressed in terms that are simply, on The Inner Bottom Line, unacceptable and inappropriate in the public or private arena of American life.
I didn’t realize until late last night, when the race was called, that I’ve probably not taken a full, deep breath in months, and that the sense of dread, even depression, that I’ve been experiencing, had come, should you lose, from the fear of a historic, turning-point, damaging moment for my country and life.
And then, last night while the GOP began to wail and moan and experts among the party started clamoring for regrouping and a change of direction in order to take back control, I was struck with something on of these advisors stated. He suggested that the party needed to regroup and decide what issues they needed to adopt in order to appeal to and win votes from new, fast-growing minority and youth demographics that power the electorate more and more today.
And it hit me. The GOP has it backwards. Maybe they always have. That statement sums up the elemental difference between Democrats and Republicans and puts its finger directly on what is wrong with the GOP. It’s kind of like deciding what dress to wear to get your date’s attention rather than wearing the one you think suits you best and makes you feel your best.
A group or party with integrity doesn’t come together and then decide what their purpose has to be in order to win a prize. An authentic organic group succeeds because its creation and coming together springs from a purpose based on a shared passion and commitment.
There are issues about which Democrats are traditionally passionate, such as strong, fair, financial regulations and a strong economy built on an equal chance for all, a tax code that doesn’t favor the rich, affordable and quality education for our kids, support for the arts and culture, a vibrant middle class, fair immigration laws, a healthy, safe infrastructure, solid, fact-based research, non-negotiable women’s rights and pay, the right to choose, gay rights, Social Security and Medicare benefits, common-sense gun control, and action on and acknowledgement of global warming, to name just a few.
Democrats have never comprised a party that had to search for causes in order to be more appealing to voters to win their vote. It’s always been a “party of the people.” And despite the obvious and politic need to continue to remain current and be smart about how one puts out the issues in each election cycle, there’s always been a basic commitment to service and inclusivity and offering a helping hand to others.
However, that’s not what this insider suggested. He suggested that the GOP pick issues based on how well they would “play,” how effectively they would attract the demographics needed to win again and reach the magic number rather than pick issues that sprout from honest passion and belief that those issues are important, current and essential to the common good. That’s disingenuous and manipulative. Two qualities that have been in great supply throughout Mr. Romney’s campaign.
So, Mr. President, on this sun-filled day when the challenges ahead are huge but our resolve is refreshed and determined to move forward, and when you have once again inspired us to fight the good fight, for the right reasons, let anyone, including the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Sheldon Adelson, Donald Trump, Steve Wynn, or any other Mr. Moneybags who thinks our country, presidency or democracy is for sale, take notice! Forgetaboutit. America’s integrity is not for sale, and we will never, ever, never let you take that away from us.