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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Climb

posted by on November 5 at 4:19 AM

I can’t sleep.

I just crawled out of bed and sat down at my kitchen table, giving my brain an attempt at accepting all that has happened tonight.

The results for the Washington State races seem almost unbelievably good—Tim Eyman destine for definitive defeat, transit for a definitive victory along with death with dignity, the reelection of our democratic governor and the potential victory of Darcy Burner.

And then, there is Obama. It doesn’t seem possible. We live in a country willing and able to reelect George W Bush a mere four years ago, to probably pass a punitive and vicious discriminatory State Constitutional amendment on this very evening. And yet, Obama. With a landslide.

And it’s all over the country. As I write this, there is a distinct chance that the Democrats will achieve a 60 person super majority in the Senate and pick up a larger than expected number of seats in the House.

We asked the country, and received “yes” as an answer this time.

On my kitchen table are the week’s New York Times—surrounding me with the pre-election moment.

A few scattered headlines:

“Steep Decline in October Auto Sales Leaves No Seller Immune”

“New Terrain For Arbiters Of a Bailout”

“Afghan Officials Aided an Attack on U.S. Soldiers”

“U.S. Rejects G.M.’s Call For Help In a Merger”

“Debt Links to Huge Buyouts Is Tightening the Economic Vise”

“Next President Will Face Test On Detainees”

“Fed Adds $21 Billion To Loans For A.I.G”

“New Anxiety Grips Russia’s Economy”

“Economy Shrinks With Consumers Leading the Way”

“Mortgage Plan May Aid Many And Irk Others”

“Specter of Deflation Lurks As Global Demand Drops”

“A Rescue Hindered By Politics”

After eight—perhaps twelve—years of terrifying, out-of-control skidding it finally feels as though our collective feet have found purchase. We’ve finally stopped our plummet, or at least started to stop our decline, far closer to the edge of a deep abyss than any of us would like. Or so I hope.

Trudging back up is going to make the next four years (and probably many more) as difficult as anything known to the overwhelming majority of us. And have no more illusions. It won’t be the Chinese, the Russians, the EU. We must be in the lead of the difficult rise as much as we were the leaders of the swift and easy fall.

McCain, and particularly Palin, were selling the notion that these problems weren’t real, that the real problem is we aren’t belligerent and profligate enough, that all we need to do was double down. Obama means we’re finally ready to about face, and start grappling with the long-neglected reality of our situation.

So, as I sit anxiously awake at four AM, all these thoughts—and a few others, of the sweet feeling of victory, of the vanquishing of so much hatred and fear, of relief of the end of procrastination—swirl through my mind. Much coalesces to a sharp point. I’d work for the Obama administration, grinding my life against what we collectively face.

And I suspect I am not the only one.

RSS icon Comments


I'm on the other side of the country in NY and I've been up all night too. The Obama win was amazing, but the effect of Proposition 8 in California reminds me just how much is left to do.

It's really taken the glow off what should have been a great night.

Posted by james | November 5, 2008 4:32 AM

You are not the only one
Watching Obama in Chicago last night seemed surreal. He appeared solemn and strong.
I am ready to do what needs to get done

Posted by 4f...sake | November 5, 2008 4:36 AM

Fuck yes it was surreal! I can still hardly believe it. I am so fucking happy. OBAMA MUTHAFUCKA!

Fuck proposition 8! Do you realize OBAMA WON? Obama at least defies the status quo... Prop 8 was entirely expected (and yes, depressing as hell)

Posted by Eric | November 5, 2008 4:45 AM

I've been excited by Obama since his key note address in 2004 and I should be elated today but as a gay man I just feel like I've been pummeled this morning. They really kicked us around yesterday badly. But yaaaa Obama.

Posted by Jersey | November 5, 2008 4:55 AM
Posted by Pierceyoursoul | November 5, 2008 4:57 AM

I slept for a little while. But now I'm up. My mind is too alive. The world has been tipped up-side-down. Thank god.

Posted by Lisa Tritt | November 5, 2008 5:01 AM

Fuck, yeah!

Posted by Matthew | November 5, 2008 5:15 AM


This Lord-and-Savior Obama stuff from my fellow liberals is getting embarrassing.

Posted by AR | November 5, 2008 5:24 AM

Must... disseminate... important... information...

Posted by Matthew | November 5, 2008 5:35 AM

Great blog, Jonathan. It was such a treat to see photos of all the crowds out on the streets all over Seattle. The Prop 8 news *is* disappointing, but Obama's election gives us hope. We just have to hope for continued evolution.

The older one is, the more amazing this election seems. My earliest childhood memories were of the violence of the 60s: race riots, assassinations, horrific examples of racism and violent protests associated with segregation and Vietnam. I never thought I'd live to see this day, but I'm very grateful to have lived this long.

Today, gay men and lesbians can legally get married in parts of the U.S. and around the world, and a man of mixed race -- not just black, but definitely black -- is now President of the U.S. So time is on our side.

What a time we live in.

Posted by MichaelPgh | November 5, 2008 6:24 AM

*as though our collective feet have found purchase.

*the real problem is we aren’t belligerent and profligate enough

*relief of the end of procrastination—swirl through my mind.

You deserve some kind of wank-award for those kinds of sentences, you know. See Charles for the proper nominmation process.

*Much coalesces to a sharp point

Yeah - my head for one, reading tripe like this.

Posted by Mumbles | November 5, 2008 6:31 AM

I hear ya
Must... disseminate... important... information...
McCain may still have hope

Posted by gry mklsk | November 5, 2008 6:39 AM

Agreed. This the first time in a long time that the cynics are actively turning me off. Skepticism (like yours) is vital and as much as I'm excited about the results, I've still got to go to work this morning.

But after his speech last night... yeah, if the call goes out in February, asking people for help, for work, for ideas... I'd believe it and I'd do what I could.

Posted by Chris B | November 5, 2008 6:41 AM

Nicely said. :)

You said you're in med school, yes? I'm headed there. I think that doing our part to shift the state of healthcare in this country is not a bad way to contribute.

Posted by violet_dagrinder | November 5, 2008 7:11 AM

"...feels as though our collective feet have found purchase"

Really beautiful

Posted by Non | November 5, 2008 7:25 AM

I'm the exact opposite. Last night I slept better than I have in weeks!

Posted by Robin Sparkles | November 5, 2008 7:59 AM

This is such great news for Science in general and you in particular, Mr. Golob. Congratulations to us all.

Posted by kid icarus | November 5, 2008 8:24 AM

A call to arms!

Posted by Jana Brevick | November 5, 2008 8:26 AM

A call to arms!

Posted by Jana Brevick | November 5, 2008 8:26 AM

Jonathan! There will be much celebration this weekend, yes? There should be much feasting (not pizza, goddamnit!) and drinking. Get in touch!

Posted by Bethundra | November 5, 2008 8:36 AM

I am looking forward to change.

I want to see Windows replaced by Linux.

Barack Obama's site is run on Linux and I want to see freedom and change come to the world of operating systems and not be repressed by the Gateses and their monopoly.

Barack Obama and I will be promoting Linux everywhere we go.

Posted by John Bailo | November 5, 2008 8:44 AM

That explains so much about you, Failo.

We're not going to get 60 senators, Jonathan, but we got a hell of a mandate. Do you know how rare it is for a party to comprehensively get its ass kicked in a midterm and then the next general election, too? This is not ordinary voter rage.

Posted by Fnarf | November 5, 2008 9:34 AM

I was born exactly one week prior to the 1960 election, so of course I was far too young to have had even an inkling of the kind of enthusiasm that moment generated, and the spirit of hope and confidence that was its result.

But, I feel like last night, surrounded by crying, hugging, cheering, drunk-off-our-collective-asses friends, and standing in the middle of the spontaneous eruption of sheer joy that took over the middle of Broadway & E Pike last night, this must be what it felt like for the generation of Boomers who lived through that unforgettable moment in our nation's history.

Something has fundamentally changed within the collective consciousness of our nation, something that, while it may be resisted by some, can never be turned back. Racism may still exist in this country, but despite that we can still elect a Black Man for President. There will still be conflicts between generations, but for the first time in MY life at least, I had the privilege of voting for a Presidential Candidate who is YOUNGER than myself. Conservatives and liberals may still be at-odds in terms of how we view our country, and the path we wish it to follow for the next four-to-eight years, but WE chose that path in a demonstration for all the world to view with awe and wonder, that despite the deep divisions that exist between individual Americans, our people can still exercise the right to chose our own destiny - for good or ill.

McCain gave a moving concession speech in Arizona last evening, so much so that at one point I leaned over to a friend and said, "if he'd spoken like this over the past several months, he might actually have had a shot at this thing!" It was a call to Republicans, conservatives, and to the Religious Right to accept the loss, to move on, and to commit to working WITH the new leadership for the betterment of all. I have no doubt many on that side will fail to heed his words; there's too much animosity, too much hate, too much lingering mistrust and fear of The Other for many of them to be able to come to grips with the New Reality.

But, many will mark what was said, by both McCain, and later by President-Elect Obama (don't those words just send shivers of delight up your spine?) that WE ALL have to do this TOGETHER if we're going to achieve anything useful, lasting, and worthy of our history, heritage, and potential. WE ALL have to learn to be better Americans - first and foremost to each other. And I can only hope enough of us can set aside our differences, work for our common good, and fulfill the promise of what it truly means to be an American in the 21st Century.

Posted by COMTE | November 5, 2008 10:09 AM

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