Posted from the US
The fat lady ain't singin yet - but she is warming up offstage. There is still the possibility of a McCain victory - but I'm not sure it would be good for anyone.
The Republican party needs a time out - a bit of time to regroup, reinvent, and to purge out elements that no longer make sense:
Fiscal responsibility? Great!
Less government? Great!
Crazy right-wing religious groups?
New world orders?
Get back to your early roots - way, way back http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_(United_States)
"The Republican Party was created in 1854 in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act that would have allowed the expansion of slavery into Kansas. Besides opposition to slavery, the new party put forward a progressive vision of modernizing the United States — emphasizing higher education, banking, railroads, industry and cities, while promising free homesteads to farmers. In this way, their economic philosophy was similar to the Whig Party's. Its initial base was in the Northeast and Midwest. The Party nominated Abraham Lincoln and ascended to power in the election of 1860."
What happened? There is some good zen in taking a major loss here and retooling the whole engine. It's a mess. Get rid of the crazy uncles and become the progressive, professional technocrats we'll need to run this country (see China, a country that is building a major new city every month). We don't want to see Palin in 2012 - we want to see some measured pros.
As for Obama and the Democrats? We really need to have Obama win this election and purge the national consciousness of all that is Obamaness. The symbolism, the mythology, the messianic vibe - nothing pours cold water on all of this visionary bla bla bla than the dull mechanics of running a complex country like ours. We need to have this party and to get it out of our system - or we'll never, ever get over it.
We do need an Obama victory to truly begin the end of hundreds of years of slavery and racism in this country. An Obama victory will help us become post-racial, and will likely inspire millions, and more importantly I think we will see a positive cultural revolution - an Obama role model is a great one for many kids growing up thinking that the US offers them nothing but a jail cell and a lousy job.
We also need an Obama victory to simply regain some balance after 8 years of Bush. On a higher level, an Obama victory will likely yield a pretty centrist road - and this reality will also moderate to all sides that most Americans simply want basic, up the middle, government - nothing too radical. Sitting in the President's seat, Obama will have to move towards the center once he gains the full picture of what is required to keep our country together - anything else would be impractical and likely unsuccessful - and I think Obama will follow much more of the Clinton, practical model. He will be surrounded by many brilliant and professional advisors - and his demeanor has been steady and methodical more than it has been radical. The reality is that Obama will likely need to follow many of Bush's policies of the last 18 months - Bush today is no longer the same Bush. He has no credibility today, but he has learned a lot and Obama should learn from him.
What of Obama's radical roots and associations? There is no doubt that Obama came up from a very different pathway than McCain, or Clinton, or Reagan, or Kennedy, or basically any other president. The real shock many white Americans are having is that they are having to look closely at minority culture - at people and groups that did not matter to them. But here is a question - if you are not the white son of an admiral, what is your pathway? What country club and private school would accept you? How are you going to move up? If the conservative Republican Right is wondering why someone like Obama came from the liberal Left, it's largely because there was never a place for him in the Right - even if he wanted to be there. The Left was the only place to go - and that's not right - and that should change. The party that opposed slavery should be embaressed and it needs to regain its ethical and moral center.
Many white Americans are disturbed by the words and speeches by people like Reverend Wright - but are we equally disturbed by how this country has treated minorities, especially African-Americans? We are only very recently coming out of a time where this country's racism was so blatant and omnipresent that it was practically a material reality - like the sky and moon. This country created Reverend Wright - it created the disgusting racial environment and oppression that generates intense feelings of backlash and hatred of the oppressor.
But we can prove that Reverend Wright is wrong. In this year and time, an Obama win helps to prove that this country is no longer run by racism - that we have moved beyond the evils of our past. We move past race, and back to the mundane, practical aspects of what is needed to run this country.
The Democrats need this win, but so do the Republicans. They both need to move past race, past the strange extreme elements in both parties, and they need to realize that we need both parties to become more centered, more professional, and more in balance.
An Obama win, and a reasonably successful presidency will do a lot to heal this country and our place in the world at large. A centered, balanced approach would be the practical one, and would surprise may Republicans that we did not become one giant, bloated welfare state. An Obama win gives the Republicans needed time to regroup and come back as a much more tight, rational group - we need economic professionals, not gun-toting nuts.
It is true that an Obama win has a huge amount of uncertainty - his victory alone has transformational and non-linear effects that are hard to predict, worldwide. The real change would be no change - if he stays steady, rational, practical, and centered - that alone would be revolutionary.
McCain has shown flashes of honor and character - he may lose because he resisted the temptation to engage in the full racist attacks that were possible. Yes he and his party dabbled in nastiness, but McCain clearly held back to his own detriment (Palin is another story). McCain has some real sense of honor and as Americans we should be proud of that. This is not McCain's time to be our President - he may yet win, but the hour is not his, and I think he knows it. But the hour can be his in the way he deals with his opponent as a gentleman and a human being in the final hours of the election, as well as in the days that follow. The inner hero which is in McCain will not be bitter in defeat, but will help heal this country. McCain's resistance to the ugliest side of his party, and his grace in the weeks to come may make him as important and as visionary as Obama, when all is said and done. McCain wants to win badly - but not at any expense. McCain's defense and support of Obama after the election will be critical - and a true display of a real maverick.