Nov. 4 - In generations anew, I will tell my children and later their children what it meant to be a part of history. As I do now, I will likely struggle to find the right words. Tonight has left me and nearly the whole country speechless.
I can say with certainty that tonight is the brightest moment in my 21 years as an American.
But, as President-elect Barack Obama said hours ago, "America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century ... what change will they see? What progress will we have made?"
As Obama said is his victory speech in Chicago, I - like the other millions of Americans who voted on his behalf - did so for me, not him. I strongly believe Obama will change this nation for the better; not only by the precedent he has set, but also by the policies he will implement.
The true victory will be a successful first term.
"But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to -- it belongs to you."
The responsibility of that victory belongs to us as well--and that is what Americans cannot afford to forget. In all of this "Obama-mania," as it's often called, we cannot allow ourselves to give Obama any slack as president.
Today, the most patriotic act that could be done is to have voted, for Barack Obama or his honorable opponent. Tomorrow and throughout his presidency, the most patriotic thing that can be done is to follow Obama's actions as president closely, and to protest his actions when necessary.
No man has ever accomplished all that Obama has with his candidacy. He did so with inspiring messages and strong promises. His responsibility to us is to live up to those promises. And our responsibility to him--and our selves--is to make sure that he lives up to the promises.
"This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we cant, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can."
My generation--the generation that is fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the generation inheriting an unprecedented national deficit; the generation whose first adult political memories came from the Bush administration--cannot allow themselves to run on hope alone. We will be remembered by our role in shaping history tonight. But we will also be measured by the success of Obama's presidency. That being said, I encourage all Americans to vigorously analyze Obama's actions in the months and years ahead.
Politics is not a perfect machine that only requires a good operator. Politics is a system that requires everyone to stand up--not only when things have gone wrong, as they have in the past eight years, but when there are even the slightest signs of things getting there. If we allow Obama's presidency to fail, the setbacks America will face are unimaginable.