Standing in Grant Park in 2008 and seeing Barack Obama elected and realizing that the country had roundly rejected the Bush era and had embraced a message of hope and change was deeply satisfying and exciting. It was truly historic and inspiring.
But, watching the results this time seemed much more important that 2008. It was immediately clear to me that this was the most important political moment of my lifetime. It was the validation of a set of progressive values that Democrats had been fighting for and working on for decades. The country is really changing. And I had an unexpected and powerful emotional reaction as did many around me gathered in Chicago.
While the election of Bill Clinton in 1992 certainly signaled a change in direction from Reagan and Bush, 2012 seems somehow different. It was always set up as a fundamental choice on the kind of country we would be, the values we'd stand for and what we wanted government's role to be going forward.
In the 2012 campaign, President Obama laid out a clear choice for America. He said that we should embrace the fundamental American value that while we all pursue our own dreams, we are connected and we're all in this together. And he said it should be a priority for our government to look out for the middle class and work to provide the conditions that would produce more opportunity for more people. He also challenged us all to be a more tolerant and inclusive country. He never wavered in this message.
Ultimately with his reelection, I'm more hopeful about the future of our country than I have ever been. The strength that our diversity represents, the way young people stood up for what they believed and the idea that a majority of Americans believe that in fact we are all in this together, makes me happy and proud.
Mostly I am proud that the country that my almost one-year-old twins are growing up in has the potential to be greater than ever---more tolerant, more prosperous and more active in making the world better for more people. Now we must start to realize this potential and get to work.