Dear Mr. President-Elect,
I saw it land on you tonight. In the midst of your historic hour of triumph and transcendence the awful burden that will now be yours. I am a sixty one year-old white Republican who last voted for a Democrat in 1968, the first year I could vote. I voted for you, donated money to your campaign, made phone calls on your behalf and talked to my sons ( to their amazement) about the importance of your being elevated to the Presidency.
I did not vote for you because I thought you were the better man. Truth be told, I don't. Not because of anything I find lacking in you, but only because my admiration for Senator McCain as a man is so great. Nor did I vote for you because I found your policies more compelling than those of your opponent. Truth be told, I don't. Indeed I fear some of them as much as I have ever feared the public policy of any candidate for the Presidency.
I voted for you because, having marched up to the threshold of history it would have been too awful for our nation not to have crossed over. I voted for you in spite of your policies, in spite of my uncertainty about who you really are and how you really would govern. I voted for you because I believe your rhetoric was not just rhetoric, but the promise America makes to itself. I voted for you because the times we face are so difficult and the challenges so daunting that either that promises will be finally kept or the survival of our democracy will be in doubt.
I am a writer by trade. I know good writing when I see it, hear its music, feel it resonate against the chords of my own soul. Dreams From My Father is a great book , as deserving of a place in American letters as anything by Ellison or Baldwin. In that book you gave the world the story of a young man seeking not only his father's dreams but his own identity. I too have searched for surrogate fathers in my life. I too have learned to view with suspicion my own facility with words, my ability to be the blank screen upon which others may project their dreams, the seduction of my own voice. Please forgive this presumption Mr. President Elect, but tonight I saw it land on you, saw you find your identity , perhaps for the first time in your life.
You are our President.
You are the best of us.
You are the child of Martin Luther King's dream and the father of untold dreams of generations of children whom you will never know, but whose burden you will shoulder now as your own. You have become the embodiment of dreams and their protector as well.
Take comfort in this new identity. It is yours . You have transcended race and age and party and geography and factionalism and all the thousands of humiliations that anyone who seeks public office must endure. You have transcended deals and bargains and ambition itself. You are beholden to no one but all of us. When factions seek to turn you away from this , your newer and better self, go over their heads and come to us. We will be there for you.
God bless and keep you Mr. President Elect, and the country whose hopes and dreams and safety you now carry as an awful and liberating burden.
Sleep well tonight. We're with you.
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