The day after the 2004 presidential elections -- around the time I was called out for being a petulant ass by someone with whom I disagree often but have always respected -- I came home from work feeling horrible.
Not only had my "guy" -- if you could even call him that -- lost, but our future seemed darker than ever for reasons that had nothing to do with the war, social security, or any other area where decent people can and should disagree.
I was upset with the stupid maps of the country showing blue states as the United States and red states as Jesusland; with the emails telling me how to move to Canada or just telling me to move to Canada; with the idiotic Bushitler and "Imagine No Liberals" t-shirts spreading like invasive weeds; and with all the petty proclimations of superiority and righteousness, from both sides.
Yes, the divisiveness had fueled me for months, but on that day, the Day After, my tank was empty and I just wanted it all to stop, even though I knew it wouldn't.
So, I walked my dog and ate dinner with my wife. And then I went into my office, sat on the floor and listened to Barack Obama's speech from the Democratic National Convention three months prior. And, as with the first time I heard it, I cried.
Maybe I'm a naive, overly-emotional git who is easily persuaded by a positive message delivered by a once-in-a-lifetime orator, but I can't help feeling now, as I did then, that he really is the Real Deal; that we really are standing at the precipice of a profound transformation; that there really is such a thing as the "politics of hope;" that the true mark of a leader is not what he does, but how he does it; and that deep down, we -- all of us -- recognize that "there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there’s the United States of America."
And today, by virtue of an absentee ballot, I added my meager voice to the chorus of millions chanting "Yes We Can" and truly believing that "out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come."
The audacity of hope indeed.