This Is Our Moment

The skies were getting darker - along with, it seemed, the future of my beloved country and the world.

It was Wednesday, November 3, 2004. Four years ago today. The day was marked by clear skies - but that didn't matter. Inside we were all gloomy.

24 hours earlier I had been preparing to celebrate a convincing victory by John Kerry. But what had unfolded in the intervening hours felt like a gradual yet powerful punch in my gut.

My mom told me she felt like she was at a funeral - a funeral for America. My aunt - who once volunteered for one of Dick Cheney's Congressional campaigns when she lived in Casper - wore black to work in Denver. This was six months to the day after my grandfather's funeral, so I understood what she was talking about.

That evening, as the Sun set, I felt a sense of hopelessness I hadn't felt in a long time before and can't say I've felt since. How could Democrats ever win again if an experienced Vietnam-veteran-turned-Senator couldn't beat, well, Dubya? What can we expect when the GOP nominates someone who can actually put together a coherent sentence? And we lost four more seats in the Senate for a 55-44 Republican majority; one of those seats was Tom Daschle's (part of whose Senate farewell speech I have on tape at home).

That Wednesday night, as I tried to make sense of what had happened, I turned my focus to the future. I was not looking forward to a 2006 election in which Dems would have to defend more seats and my beloved Governor Granholm and Senator Stabenow would have to fight hard to keep their jobs in battleground Michigan. I also wondered who would run in 2008. Govs. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Janet Napolitano (D-AZ)? Now-Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL)? Sens. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and George Allen (R-VA)? Jeb? Joe Biden and John McCain came to mind too, but it seemed unlikely that Barack Obama - elected to the Senate the day before - would be our nominee in the next election. And of course I had never heard of Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin.

Well, things sure as heck change!

I graduated from high school almost seven months after the election. Just three days before I graduated the Senate had reached a deal to avoid coming to blows over the 'nuclear option' controversy. My first day of class at Central Michigan University was August 28, 2008. While it was hot and sunny in Mt. Pleasant, Hurricane Katrina was making its presence felt in New Orleans. The ensuing mismanagement of the situation by the Bush Administration helped to begin the push Bush's approval ratings down.

Then came the indictments of such figures as Tom DeLay and Scooter Libby. Then, in a show of backbone that I didn't expect from Harry Reid (and in all honesty would like to see more of), Harry Reid forced the Senate into a closed session to discuss intelligence failures in Iraq. November came, and with it two Democrats - Jon Corzine and Tim Kaine - were elected Governors of New Jersey and Virginia, respectively. Kaine appeared on Obama's shortlist for the Vice Presidency this year.

The following month, the day before I left CMU to end my first semester here, pur College Democrats faculty advisor hosted a house party for Governor Granholm's re-election campaign. I still remember being in great company that night with not only other College Dems (whom I met during the second week of the semester), but a few members of the Isabella County Democratic Party. That was the night I met the Barkers, who are active in Isabella Democratic circles, as well as Peggy, the wife of the College Dems' advisor. Our College Dems VP made the announcement that he would run for State House the following year, while one of the Barkers announced a run for County Commission. Neither was elected, but still it was great to be in the presence of people who were willing to step up and take responsibility for the future of their community.

I have enjoyed being a part of the Isabella Democrats. Pete, who is running for Township Clerk, was the one who introduced me to Michigan Liberal, which became a gateway of sorts into my blogging. ;-) Another friend, Rob, asked me to run for Precinct Delegate, which I've done twice, winning both times (by one vote this year)!

Then came November of 2006. After being down by several points in the polls that summer, Jennifer M. Granholm was resoundingly given a fresh mandate, winning 56-42%. The Democrats, long seen as underdogs for control of Congress, won the House, and as we found out the next day, they also grabbed the Senate. The fears I had in 2004 ended up being for naught! I was delighted to see important legislation passed in Congress - legislation to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations, to raise the minimum wage, to

Then... Presidential Campaign Time! I researched the candidates and told myself I'd be much more careful about picking one to support. I went from supporting Kerry, to Dean, to Graham, to Kucinich, to Clark, to Dean, to Edwards, and back to Kerry in 2002-2004. This time, it took me until September to pick Obama. But I stuck with him. Primary season was an adventure, to say the least - except that i live in Michigan. Enough said. But that's another story.

I have been waiting for this since November 3, 2004.
I have been waiting for this since I graduated from high school.
I have been waiting for this since CAFTA.
I have been waiting for this since Katrina.
I have been waiting for this since I first attended a College Democrats meeting.
I have been waiting for this since Roberts and Alito joined the High Court.
I have been waiting for this since the floodgate of scandals opened on the GOP.
I have been waiting for this since that night at the professor's house.
I have been waiting for this since I cast my first-ever vote - a 'Yes' vote to renew a school district sinking fund millage!
I have been waiting for this since that wonderful Election Night of November 7, 2006.
I have been waiting for this since the Democratic-controlled 110th Congress convened.
I have been waiting for this since the first of many attempts by Congress to bring our troops home - attempts that were routinely followed by capitulation.
I have been waiting for this since this campaign began at the end of 2006.
I have been waiting for this since attending a meeting of the Democratic State Central Committee here on my campus.
I have been waiting for this since my influence in the primary process was stolen. And there's plenty of blame to go around for that.
I have been waiting for this since that Saturday in April when, for the first time during this campaign, I exclaimed the words "Yes We Can!"
I have been waiting for this since I saw Obama speak in person in Grand Rapids.
I have been waiting for this since Obama clinched the nomination.
I have been waiting for this since my aunt lost her job in June.
I have been waiting for this since July 4, 2008.
I have been waiting for this since Joe Biden was introduced as our candidate for Vice President.
I have been waiting for this since the Convention.
I have been waiting for this for so long.

And now, it is here.

We have all waited for so long. We have dealt with so much. But it all leads up to this.

This is our moment.

Are you ready to change the course of human history?


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