Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama. For any number of reasons, his win offers hope that the United States will adhere more closely to its reputation as a land of freedom and liberty and progressive human rights.
But there's much work yet to do, both in keeping the regressive residual factions of society on their heels and in holding Obama's administration to its promise of change. It's one thing to promise change; it's quite another to deliver on it. The greatest disappointment of the Clinton Presidency to me was his capitulation on health care and welfare. Let us hope that as President, Obama will show more backbone than Clinton did in facing down the retrograde elements and powerful lobbies that have turned health care into an industrial enterprise rather than a public service.
The narrow success of California's Prop 8 and the more comfortable victories of similar discriminatory, dehumanizing initiatives in Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida demonstrate that the forces of fear and hatred are still powerful. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., now is not a time to sit back and rest on our laurels.