November 5th, 2008
08:30 AM ET

So this is what it means

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/05/art.obama.closeup.jpg width=292 height=320]

John P. Avlon
AC360° Contributor

It means a new beginning for America, the restoration of the American Dream, the conquering of old divides between left and right and black and white.

Filed under: 2008 Election • Barack Obama • John P. Avlon • Raw Politics
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Cory C

    Last night my faith in the United Sates had been restored. I am not sure if I was caught up in the moment or if it was all the pandering that the Media set forth.. It felt that we could start healing as a nation that I happen to live in part of the year. We have created many enemies which were once allies under 8 years of Bush.

    Did we really come together and ban against the prejudice and the hatred to vote the first black president…. The answer sadly is no to both.

    After the excitement wore of my friends said to me today as we were discussing a new path for the world…. The United Sates did not elect it’s first black president. Barack Obama is not black. At first I was perplexed and then I soon realized he was in fact correct. Barack Obama is mixed. His mother was Caucasian and his father was from Kenya. We elected the first multi racial president but not the first black president. It seem the media is not focusing on this because I guess it does not sell news papers. But even this is a step in the right direction until a hour ago when a news bulletin flashes on my iphone that states PROP 8 in California is passed.

    Prop 8 for those who do not know 8 is an initiative state constitutional amendment on the 2008 California General Election ballot, titled Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. When instated the proposition would "change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California." A new section would be added stating "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. IN addition Gay marriage was also banned in Arizona and Florida. In Arkansas also passed a law that would make gay adoption illegal.

    The sad part about all these new laws that went into effect is that is that a majority of Latinos and Blacks voted IN FAVOR of Proposition 8 in California and the ban on gay marriage in AZ and Florida. This angers me and confuses me at the same time as to why would people who themselves are often victims of discrimination discriminate against others ?

    I guess the elation has not died down and reality has set in …. I realize that we took one step forward by election the nations first “ multi racial “ president but we took 3 steps back with progression and have prejudice and fear take away someone’s right to marry and adopt because the bible or our constitution states that marriage is between a man and a women. I have read the constitution and it also states that I have the right to own a slave but it has been reinterpreted to represent progression and grant rights to the every man, women and child unless your gay. Dr. Martin Luther King states in his famous I have a dream speech states that the creed of the United States is that "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

    In the eyes on many I just do not think we are.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  2. rod

    So does this mean that white people will finally quit getting blamed for the black mans lazyness and lack of ambition or will the white man be blamed for the free money further this excuss by holding them down by giving them free welfare checks. I am glad that Michell Obama can be proud to be American for the first time in here life.And a added plus is now we can find out who your daddies are when they come for their welfare checks.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  3. Sharon Kitchen


    November 5, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
  4. EvelynC

    I am embarrassed by my fellow white people who think it is an outrage that organizations such as NAACP exist, or even worse, still cling to beliefs that a black person is somehow inferior to a white person. I think if they were made to think about how they identify with their own racial past, and extended this to imagine how they REALLY would feel if their own ancestors had their babies sold away while the ruling class smiled on, they would be forced to admit that if the shoe were on the other foot, they would see the need for these institutions. After all, they are far less offensive than state-sponsored trafficking of human livestock.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  5. Terra Hoskins

    Does it? I'm speaking about the divide between the left and the right: those two different points of view exist. We're united in that we want to find a way to work together to solve problems, but the different perspectives are still going to be there. Unless we scrap the two parties and move to something different?

    November 5, 2008 at 12:33 pm |
  6. Melissa, Los Angeles

    I'm so happy for a new change with Obama. He gave a wonderful speech last night so I hope he walks that talk unlike other politicians past.

    November 5, 2008 at 11:49 am |
  7. Bruce from Louisville


    I saw America take a huge leap forward yesterday. But I also saw a huge step back. There has been all this talk about how the country has finally put aside its differences of race and that the constitution states that we are all Americans who are protected with the freedoms and rights granted to us by those millions who have sacrificed their time and blood so we can enjoy them. But I saw ballots casted that denied Gay couples from being allowed to adopt children. Couples being denied mariage and benefits associated with that solemn commitment. America has shined so bright these last couple of months with debate after debate reiterating the need for unity and being our brother and sisters keeper. Yet there is still this dark corner of America that is denying rights and privelages and steps are being made to constitutionaly ban certain freedoms… a first in this Country. I think that the Gay rights issue is one of the last Great Human Rights struggles this country has to endure. How can we have come so far and yet still be so filled with hate and ignorance regarding the gay community. I hope this gets the attention it needs in light of this new generation of hope and tollerance and that Americans can wake up to what is going on to so many of us with in the gay community. I am serving right now in an undisclosed branch of the military fighting for people in foreign lands to have the hope and dreams of freedom. Yet, I am denied some of the basic ones granted to my fellow americans becuase of a label. I was so happy to see Obama win, but was torn at the depths of my soul seeing these ballot measures approved in California, Florida and Arkansas. We are better than this!

    November 5, 2008 at 11:30 am |
  8. Larry

    Don't know how an Arab-American president is going to heal any division. Jesse Jackson thought obama was referring to him when he mentioned a great man from Illinois, Abe Lincoln; even Roland Martin thought that too. I can understand that as Roland got cut off while trying to tell folk that in 1988 Jesse was responsible for the dnc switching to proportional delegates which was got obama thru the primary otherwise it would have been HRC vs McCain.

    To mention David Axelrod, the thug from Chicago who has had nefarious dealings in the politics of that city really was disgusting.

    November 5, 2008 at 11:10 am |
  9. Betty, Virginia

    At this time, in this place, America has chosen this man to lead us into hope for our future. His unwaivering strength, his ability to listen to those who don't agree, his confidence in self, along with his intelligence, the way the world views him (and vice versa), and feeling of unity he commands will bring us together at a time when individuals are suffering in many ways. Somehow, we'll do it and we'll do it together because:

    This is the Time
    This is the Place
    This is the Man.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:59 am |
  10. Deirdre

    A special Thank You to all who fought and died so that we would all see this day come (slaves, Martin Luther King, freedom riders, Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson, etc.... and to all the American voters who sealed the deal last night (blacks, whites, hispanics, asians, indians, etc.)

    God Bless America! We have arrived... now let's continue climbing the mountain TOGETHER.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:58 am |
  11. Jack

    Under G. W. Bush my nest egg has rotted in the bank. Now we are down to 1 % interest. I am not a CEO deviding up the last big give away, It is only tax payers money, and ther is moreof that where it came from

    November 5, 2008 at 10:56 am |
  12. jpetta

    I certainly hope that the media does not beat the 1st African American president drum to long.

    I truly believe that it could hurt the issue more than help it. By staying on that topic it could be detrimental to the changes that this accomplishment could have an effect on.

    I have seen on CCN already this mourning how they almost make it sound like that was the only reason he was elected. There are a lot of people in America like me that voted because we believed Obama has the potential to take the country and the world in a new direction, both politically and socially. By Socially I mean take us to a place where we no longer identify someone as one color or another but rather as human beings. The more we focus on the issue of color the harder it makes it for all to move to that new place.

    I am a white male and just hate when I hear people refer to someone as white or black. i know it sounds ludicrous but why can't we just be referred to as people, humans. or residents of earth.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:55 am |
  13. Lisa

    I was listening to CNN this morning discussing the election. I was struck by the news team over and over referring to Obama as America's first black president rather than our next President or President elect Obama. This election was historic in the respect that America did elect a person of color (mixed race as many Americans are) but I hope that the media doesn't lose sight of the fact that the American majority elected Obama for reasons other than the color of his skin. Obama represents hope that we as a nation can see beyond our differences and move the country in a different direction. Now is the time for all Americans to come together, heal and work on the overwhelming problems we face. Obama didn't run for President on a platform of color and the media should be more responsible in how they report and influence the country. How about the main stream media concentrating on the real historic issue of this campaign – CHANGE!

    November 5, 2008 at 10:52 am |
  14. Zina

    I am proud to be an American and to be living in America in these historic times!! I have hope for life and the world we live in!! Barack Obama has accomplished what some can only dream of. How can I find out about working for Obama?

    November 5, 2008 at 10:49 am |
  15. Susan, Seattle WA

    It was a joyous, raucous celebration in Seattle last night. I've never seen anything like it. People walking down the street, hugging strangers and jumping up and down, cars honking, people spontaneously shouting "I am so happy!!" It was wonderful.
    Now to take this joy and love for our fellow citizens, keep it going, and put it to work in repairing this country.
    Thank you, Barack and your whole team. Especially Michelle, the girls, and Grandma.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:48 am |
  16. harminder singh

    It is not Mac is back anymore. Now it is Mac is gone !

    Palin definitly contributed for defeat of McCain.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:46 am |
  17. Lisa Riley

    It means that the American people, who have been waiting for change so long, will finally get it. The numbers speak for themselves. We have been feed up for so long, under a presidency which many middle and lower class Americans felt cared nothing about. It feels good to know that the future President of the United States of America is someone whom I feel like, the working class citizens as well as younger America can relate to. He is sincere, he is relatable he makes me feel as though I am important and just as he is an advocate for change, I too can be.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:42 am |
  18. William

    As a 63 year old Vietnam Vet. last nights win made me feel proud to have fought for this country. I have seen so much bigotry in this country in my 63 years i'm just happy to have lived long enough to see it.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:41 am |
  19. Ken in Canada


    It is impossible to overstate what this means. America hasn't just turned a page, it has thrown out the old book. Canadian's en masse are breathing a sigh of relief this morning. America proved last night that the promise of America is still bright and earnest. Last night America disgarded fear for hope, faith and resolve for division.

    I am a lover of America and its ideals. I love its people and their ability to dream. The people of the world also have dreams, and last night one of the shone brightly.

    America....never forget that you aren't alone. People all around the world hope your hopes and have your dreams. Humanity is better for what happened last night. Barack Hussein Obama is the right man for the times.

    I'm a white, middle-class, Irishman who has had all the advantages of living in a great country, that possesses freedom, wealth and democracy, just as America does. However that wealth extended last night to the diversity of America and to blacks, latinos, asians, native americans and all the other identifiable groups in America that felt unheard and at time invisible.

    Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton were all great men of vision. Obama may prove to not only be great, but the man for the times.

    God speed America.... and God Bless.....

    We, all of us, are proud of your decision last night. Today is brighter and the path ahead clearer.....

    November 5, 2008 at 10:40 am |
  20. Don

    This can now be called the Star Trek generation, because this is the generation that will 'bravely go where no man has gone before'.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:37 am |
  21. Christine Shannon-Preval

    “Yes”, God has Blessed America!

    After 11:00 pm on November 4, 2008 with my eyes closed listening to CNN on TV with my 26-yr old son & 22-yr old daughter, my sons best friend who is also 26-yrs old, and even my niece who is 28-yrs old sat in the den screaming to the top of our lungs “Yes We Did” Obama with tears rolling down our faces in shock, witnessing a Historical Moment!

    As a 47-year old Black Woman remembering 40-years ago how my Mother would take us every with her to marched in Washington DC during the Civil Rights in the 1960’s, and camping out on the lawn of the State Capital in Hartford CT for Minority & Women Rights, and how I wish my Mom could be here to share this day, but she's now a Guiding Angel!

    In silence, with my eyes closed, I listen to My Heart pounding hard into my ears and my Spirit Cried from those who have come before us chanting deep in my Soul “Joy, Joy, Joy” and I felt something so special that words can not explain or describe the experience, but I now know what the Blood, Sweat & Tears represented on this Historical Day, and I couldn't be more prouder of my Son & Daughter’s Generation & All Americans of All Colors who have Spoken Loud & Clear!

    Our Ancestor’s have paved the way for BARACK OBAMA to guide this Nation with wisdom and common sense with Spiritual Guidance around the world that will heal & unite American & The World beyond our imagination with our 1st Elected Black Man who looks like all of Us! The Color Theory has “Cracked in a Trillion Pieces” and the people have spoken.

    Yes We Can, and Yes We Did in 2008!

    Christine Shannon-Preval, Hartford CT 11/5/08

    November 5, 2008 at 10:32 am |
  22. Andy

    Your coverage of Election Day was amazing. I has a "white Canadian Baby Boomer" have never been prouder than I was last night. Obama's acceptance speech compares with "I have a dream" , but, could not have happened without it.

    Your use of technology surpasses that of anyone else.

    I am sure I will never forget where I was Nov 4. 2008.

    Congratulations CNN.

    November 5, 2008 at 10:26 am |
  23. chuck

    This is the beginning of the world reassembling America to it's rightful place and the torch has been RELIT. It 's time for Americans to lay down their differences and rebuild as THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA where DREAMS are still reality.Thank God there will be no more INSULTING PICKETS to greet the new PRESIDENT. God bless America.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:55 am |
  24. Christopher

    This was a day that none of us will ever forget.Every American can be proud of the way we have chosen to move on in our own yet to be determined future.As the world watched,we peacefully choose a new direction for our leadership to take.We will forever be seen in a new way by the rest of the globe, as a place were no matter your ethnic background,every American is equal.Those who have tried in the past to tear our republic down will have to rethink their strategy on how to achieve that goal,for the old ways of doing that will simply no longer work.We are a nation united in the goal of recreating a future that includes every citizen of this planet.My hat is off to Mr.McCain.He didn't get my vote,but he gets my respect for his grace,and honor.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:55 am |
  25. Gayla McCord

    You can almost feel the healing begin.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:52 am |
  26. Joab Magara

    Sarah Palin must have voted for Obama. Why else would she invoke her right not to disclose who she voted for when asked by the press soon after casting her vote? This was early morning before most of the country voted. Her refusal to disclose who she voted for must have sent a particularly chilling message to McCain supporters. I am sure her comment went a long way in denying McCain votes. What was Palin up to??

    November 5, 2008 at 9:51 am |
  27. C Fulford

    I couldn't agree more!
    Well said!

    November 5, 2008 at 9:50 am |
  28. william mac

    I wish CNN would stop calling Barack Obama the first BLACK AFRICAN etc. etc.
    Can't we simply treat him as an American?
    Do we call Nader or Leiberman or whoever the first or second or third
    JEW to be in politics?
    CNN stop your trickery! You are commiting suicide! Stick to reporting
    the news worldwide and continue to be first at it, instead of trying to sway people one way or another, by distorting the reporting to advantage one side or another.
    People are smarter today, and I suggest strongly that you educate yourselves accordingly.


    November 5, 2008 at 9:46 am |
  29. Nicole Tichy-Mannino

    The United States of America has prevailed as an example of democracy. Last night we made history by electing a man that reflects the main values of our country. He is a reflection of what our country is made of, a true melting pot. He is half Caucasian and half African American a true example of the unification of race in our country. This country reflects in each one of us the beautiful reality that we are all one people. We are a true melting pot that encompasses many different backgrounds, which allows us the power to be free.
    Our new president elect, Barack Obama, has empowered the United States of America to embrace change. He is the embodiment of a change agent, a motivational force, and a reflection of how we can succeed. We are paving a new path of growth that is led by the next generation. The generation of hope, the generation of change, the generation of freedom, we are the voices of the United States of America. God bless us all.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:45 am |
  30. M Ellison

    today is a very proud in America, yet I worry that the media has made this so much about race that you over looked a very important fact. President Elect Oboma is as White as he is Black, a White Sister and Mother, raised by White Grandparents. They are as important as his complextion, I think.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:44 am |
  31. Revolution Romance

    Call me a romantic, but I feel hopeful... I feel a sense of relief that we have ousted the standing regime of ignorance, selfishness, war-monging and corruption. I am not naive, but I am at the very least happy for the oppressed masses in our nation in that we (me being a woman and gay) have seen a glass-ceiling break away and that we can at the very least take a deep breath of fresh air, however momentary. Now maybe we can free our troops and their families from their horrible and terror filled Iraq centered existence ...and now maybe we can start working toward planning our lives and dreaming our dreams instead or preparing for the second depression and our survival. You notice I say "maybe"... that is hope speaking. I feel hopeful... for today...I feel as though I am on the right side of a giant revolution and I am so thankful... It has been a long time since I have felt proud to be an American. I am not really a nationalist, but I am proud of us all today...and so happy for our black brothers and sisters, for all people of color and for all the rest of us who just can't seem to catch a damn break. I really am... a romantic...and thank God for it.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:43 am |
  32. Rich B - Knoxville

    I only hope that the Red & Blue DO unite to become one UNITED States of America - We need to stop the divisve rhetoric, lies about each other and general backstabbing – and get on with the healing needed because of the aforementioned as well as getting on with finding, and implementing, solutions for all the problems we face today -

    I was channel surfing (like most males I do that, ah, from time to time) and, after McCain's concession speech there, on FOX, was good ol' Karl Rove blathering on about Ayers and mouthing the usual attack sound bites - god – no wonder McCain lost - I think the old boy is afraid times might be changing and he is no longer the force to be reckoned with - Poor Baby -

    November 5, 2008 at 9:41 am |
  33. Charisse Van Horn

    to be proud to be an American...

    November 5, 2008 at 9:37 am |
  34. clockman

    Hope trumps fear!

    November 5, 2008 at 9:24 am |
  35. Russell Geyser

    Reagan inspired citizens with his vision of America, Obama inspires us with his vision of Americans. I voted for him not because he will redistribute income, but rather because he will distribute hope.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:24 am |
  36. Saad, NJ

    This is indeed a marvelous moment. It has nothing, and I repeat absolutely nothing to do with President Obama being black – it has everything to do with 'hope'. Hope for a better future for our country and the world – something that we had started losing in the last 8 years.

    God Bless.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:23 am |
  37. Amanda

    Wow, a bit optimistic don't you think?? You think Obama winning will do all that? Let's see what you say in 4 years.

    November 5, 2008 at 9:21 am |
  38. Cindy

    Give me a break...the American dream has always been here for people who want to actually get off of their butts and work for it! This won't change anything. He was elected because of Bush and the economy not because of race relations Get a clue!


    November 5, 2008 at 9:14 am |
  39. Charisse Van Horn

    and it is the beginning of justice for those who perished in the waters of Katrina...

    November 5, 2008 at 9:13 am |
  40. Neil Rooney (Berlin)

    Happy Christmas everyone 🙂

    November 5, 2008 at 9:04 am |