The leaves have mostly fallen here in Ohio. The sky is usually cloudy.. It is my least favorite time of year, and this year the grey limbo of November seems appropriate for this time of waiting and anticipation.
I have never been so glad to see an election finally over. And what an election. As I noted before, during the time that the magazine Caelum et Terra was published two elections came and went without comment in our pages. This one, however consumed a lot of us and for the first time strained friendships. I was involved in an email discussion among friends, most of whom wrote for the magazine, all of whom were associated with it, and the conversation got heated. indeed.
But it is over. I am greatly relieved that John McCain will not be president and that the Bush/Cheney disaster is at an end.
But I am also apprehensive at the prospect of Obama’s presidency. I am praying for the man; Lord knows he’s going to need it. Has any president-elect walked into a worse situation? While he has tremendous capital going into the presidency- the outpouring of good will toward America from around the world being chief- he faces tremendous trials.
And just how he will rule is anyone’s guess. He is horrid on abortion, and his campaign gives little reason for hope: he emphasized his record, at least on radio ads for rock stations here in Ohio, and rather than reach out to prolifers he chose a prochoice Catholic as a running mate.
But we can hope that he will be prudent in his actions once in the White House. And we can take some comfort in the fact that presidential opinion apparently has little effect on abortion rates: abortion numbers declined under Clinton, for example. If numbers do indeed rise under Obama, it will likely reflect the economic woes of the nation rather than anything he might do.
But as the days have passed since November 4, I have increasingly become aware of one very good effect of Obama’s election: I have not seen African Americans this hopeful since the assassination of Martin Luther King..
Obama’s effect on the culture of black America may be far-reaching indeed. Think of young black men, who for too long have looked to thugs and athletes for role models. Now the most famous black man in the world is educated and articulate, a husband and a father. Obama did not emphasize racial questions in his campaign, but this is a little-remarked effect that may in the end be the most benign effect of his victory.