By yesterday at noon, this proud first-time voter had already cried about five times. Obama's humble and unifying victory speech; the discussions in history classes about the great milestones of this election; even the morning's editorial cartoons; It was impossible to not get repeatedly emotional about this magnificent race and its life-changing outcome.
But as ecstatic as I am, I think it's not too early to start reasonably preparing for what's next, because heightened emotions are not going be sufficient fuel for the change we want to see in the next four years -- and might even be dangerous in the long run. As Obama's role changes, ours, as his supporters, must too. We should no longer be adoring fans who are pledging our votes, but instead, the electorate who will hold him accountable for the promises he has made and the high standard he has set for himself.
It won't be easy, after such an emotional campaign, to accept that our feelings about Obama have to find a balance between dogmatically accepting his every move and being bitterly disappointed when he fails to meet his every promise. But as part of the movement that got him to the White House, we need to adapt to the different environment it provides, and in order to not be let down, must reasonably accept the challenges he faces. In addition, in order to keep Obama's ego in check and his policy in line, we must also be willing to question our president and be ready to hold him accountable.
As Obama said last night: "This victory alone is not the change we seek--it is only the chance for us to make that change." And how better to seize that chance than by realizing that while we can continue to cheer, there will be moments where we must boo and demand more, or better? Hope is what got us here, but it can't be all we hold on to -- we must be skeptical and challenge the next administration to end the war in Iraq, universalize health care, and reform education. I know I'm up for the challenge -- and I think President Obama is, too.
Originally posted @ Glamocracy