I'm expecting Barack Obama to win on Tuesday, but it's not a sure thing by any means. Assuming he does win, his victory will signal a huge shift in the political paradigm. Of course, both candidates say they want to be bi-partisan, but candidates always say that. With luck, there will be a significant number of Democratic House and Senate seats. While Pelosi was ridiculed for saying so, she said that if there are significantly more Democratic seats, there will be greater bipartisanism. I think she is right - with Democrats firmly in control, Republican congressman will be freer to worth with the majority, knowing they can't just dig in and force gridlock.
Assuming Barack wins, I for one, will celebrate, but will not gloat. This can be a great opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation. Even today, I saw an official Republican party blog trying to scare people because they claim Barack "used to be a Muslim." As shameful as this scare tactic is, there is no need for retribution after Tuesday. I have some requests if he wins:
1. I hope Barack commits to being bi-partisan by appointing some moderate Republicans to key posts.
2. Like has occurred in other countries where there was major political shifts, I think there should be a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission." I have no doubt there are dozens of high ranking Republicans that have committed serious crimes that we still don't know about. While many deserve jail ( for example, Karl Rove ) I think Barack should go so far as to give pardons for political offenses. Like after Watergate, this nation will take a long time to recover from the corrupt practices of the Bush administration - but we would be better served by having the truth come out.
3. I think we should make the Democratic big tent bigger. Back when Republicans took over both houses in the 90's, several conservative Democrats switched party. I think the Democratic National Committee should encourage the few moderate Republicans out there that there is room for them in our party and in the administration. A record number of Republicans elected not to run for re-election this year because being the minority party just is more frustrating. We have room for conservatives who are respectful of Democratic values for sure. They should be encouraged to climb about what is sure to be an exciting next two years.
I'm not saying an Obama presidency will usher in a utopian society. But an Obama vicotry will have long lasting effects. If he wins it will mean a vicotory where the average donor gave $86.00. It will mean millions of people will for the first time feel true empowerment and that their vote really mattered. I just hope it will also mean a return of dignity to politics and once again make the office of the President worthy of honor and respect.