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On the 2008 Presidential Election

Last night was a historic night.

However, it’s historic not just because Barack Obama, the first African American nominee of a major political party, was elected President, thought that certainly was historic, or because the margin of victory was so great, there have been bigger.

It was because we saw what hard work and dedication in America can accomplish. So many people, my parents included, come to America seeking a better life for themselves and their children. My dad bought a one way ticket from Taiwan to the United States to go to college. He could have stayed in Taiwan and been quite comfortable. He could speak his native tongue, live where he grew up, worked with people he’s known his entire life, but this was America. The land of opportunity.

Many people point to Barack Obama’s achievements as inspiration that the American dream is still alive, to which I cannot disagree. However, I argue that John McCain’s ascension to the Republican Presidential nominee is equally impressive. Age discrimination is very real in this country, though less offensive to many for a variety of reasons, and we were not far from electing the oldest President of the United States. John McCain was a tireless public servant, a hard working American, and no one can doubt his patriotism – and he was rewarded with the Republican nomination. It did upset me to see him upset last night, you almost never want to see someone of his caliber of character see defeat in that way (McCain’s brief bio on Wikipedia [3]).

Barack Obama’s story is pretty well known (Wikipedia has a quick recap [4] of that) so I won’t rehash it but the fact that he was the Democratic nominee is also impressive. I thought his acceptance speech was clear – this was only the chance to begin the work, not the work itself. It contained all the usual political stuff but I thought the story about Ann Nixon Cooper was very touching. You can read the transcript of the speech here [5] and listen to it here [6] (I’m sure video will be available later if you search for it).

Hard work still pays off in America, that was something we lost faith in for the last few years. Now it’s time to build on it.