As I dropped my kids off at school at 7:40 this morning, the news was that Coleman beat Franken by a mere 800 votes.
That is pretty inspiring--and I'll tell you why. The country is not as divided as the electoral college numbers would indicate. As Cpt. Sweetie told me last night, if you look at political maps county by county, America is more purple than red or blue. As a nation, we are not voting for a "party" reflexively.
That has been one of the great appeals of the Obama campaign for me, and it was again crystallized in his acceptance speech. He did not gloat, he did not give in to pandering to his base. He took the words of the iconic Republican President from Illinois, and he owned them. "Passion may have strained, but it cannot break our bonds of affection."
He explicitly acknowledged his obligation to the entire country, not just those who elected him. "Those of you whose respect I have not yet earned. . .I will be your president as well."
This is the antidote to the vivisectioning of our population that has been happening for the last eight years, and a heartening sign of that is that Coleman will go back to the Senate, and will have to work with this most conciliatory of Presidents-elect.
I have great hopes for our new President-elect, and they focus on his healing the rifts in our country that have been wedged open, widened and exploited over the last eight years. The acceptance speech last night was not a victory lap, but was an acknowledgment that this historic election is not itself change--only to opportunity to make change happen.
Obama set himself to the task of earning the respect of those who did not vote for him. He positioned himself as a worthy inheritor of Abraham Lincoln's legacy.