With Barack Obama's landslide victory in the electoral vote last night, I was reminded of a very different election outcome on a very different night. In 1984, Republican President Reagan won a second term with his own drubbing of Democrat Walter Mondale. The vote was proof that Reagan was no fluke, a reality that I found depressing for the United States.
I came to work at the Post-Gazette the next day and one of the first persons I saw was Senior Assistant Managing Editor Eileen Shanahan, someone whose political views were similar to mine. I felt shell-shocked by the vote totals and told her, "I don't recognize this place anymore. I feel as though I've lost my country."
Fast-forward to 2008. I have a son who is a college senior in Ohio and who was a volunteer for the Obama campaign in the spring and the fall. Mike and I are on the same page politically and, while I certainly didn't work for Obama, I got to interview him along with the rest of the Post-Gazette Editorial Board this year. I was part of the decision we made to endorse him in the Democratic primary and again for president in the fall.
Mike views the eight years of George W. Bush in much the same way that I saw the two terms of Reagan. He sees crippling deficits, military adventurism and a callous disregard for dealing with the needs of average Americans. Last night at 11 o'clock my son called to rejoice in Obama's election and the Democratic gains in the House and the Senate. I said, "I think you got your country back."
What are your thoughts after this historic election? Did you "get your country back"? Or do you feel differently?