If this week has taught me anything, it's that it should become mandatory that elections fall on Thursdays. That way, historically questionable days like Monday through Wednesday would be more palpable as the excitement builds toward the day when the fate of our nation finally gets revealed.
Then, with only one more work day to get through after an emotionally and physically draining week/two years, the media and country could throw on their favorite track suits and gather for the world's biggest virtual post-mortem "brunch" before waving goodbye for a quiet weekend of reflective and restorative processing time.
But mostly, the fact that the day after the election would then fall on a Friday would help promote bi-partisan healing because if your candidate wasn't chosen, you could say comforting things to yourself like, "Well, the country may officially just bought itself a one way ticket to hell in a hand bag, but at least its Friday!!" And if the candidate you were pulling for was chosen, you could tap in to the energy of everyone's favorite day of the week and ride an even bigger wave of excitement, hope and wonder in to the blissful weekend sunset.
Instead, this has seemingly been the longest week in the history of the world.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/30/art.liveblog.jpg]Tonight on AC360°, Barack Obama's #1 priority as President. Today, he held his first news conference since the election. Hear what what he says is going to be his top concern when he moves into the White House. Also, Governor Sarah Palin speaking only to us about those nasty allegations that she's a diva and geographically challenged. Tonight, you'll hear her side of the story.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/07/obama_anna_110408.jpg caption="Anna Otieno watches Barack Obama's acceptance speech in Chicago's Grant Park."]
Consumer Strategist at Iconoculture, Inc,
a freelance writer & Online Communications Dir. for African Diaspora for Obama
Editor's Note: Tuesday night, as Obama gave his acceptance speech in Grant Park, cameras panned across the massive crowd. Sometimes, a single shot of a face in the sea of people stood out. We reached out to one of those faces caught in the midst of the moment and asked Anna Otieno to reflect upon what she was thinking, and what happens when a camera pauses on your face amidst one of the most watched events in television history. Anna recently moved to Chicago from Minneapolis and found herself in the front row at Obama's acceptance speech in Grant Park Tuesday. She is a passionate Obama supporter. Below is her story.
"It's written all over your face." We have all heard that expression and on Tuesday night, truer words had ne'er been spoken. There I was in the front row at Grant Park watching our next President, Barack Obama, deliver his acceptance speech. This is it, this is really happening. At that very moment, all I could do was watch and listen. I took in every single word as if I was going to be tested on it. And truth be told, I sure was. From family to friends to Facebook, everyone wanted to know, what was it like?!
It was amazing.
The atmosphere in Grant Park was invigorating. Thousands among thousands filled this corner of Chicago to the brim. As we waited for Obama, some of us cried, some of us danced, and some of us sang our hearts out to the classics. Hope was flowing from city to stage. Drop a disco ball and it's a wrap – this was my kind of party. For one night, celebrity, socio-economic status, race and background were set aside. We all celebrated together.
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U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel whispers in the ear of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during a press conference at the Capitol in Washington last month.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/03/art.obamafam.gi.jpg]Mother Jones
Dear President-elect Obama,
I'm writing to you as a resident of the District of Columbia, where you'll soon be moving with your two lovely children. I would like to respectfully request that you seriously consider sending your kids to DC public schools—and not a charter school, either, but a full-on traditional neighborhood public school.
I realize that you've already taken some flack for ensconcing your daughters in a private institution in Chicago. I don't intend to pile on. I understand that choosing a school is fraught with anxiety and it's the most private of decisions. But you are a public figure, so I think it's fair to ask that you give the public schools a boost of confidence by electing to send your kids to one.
Full disclosure: I send one of my children to public school, and the White House is within the same school boundary as my own home. After 5th grade, my kids would attend the same school as yours. So I have a vested interest in where your kids end up, as any school that lands the president's kids is likely to see a host of improvements.
But my self-interest aside, whatever happens with your administration, you could at least leave a lasting impact on hundreds of poor, mostly minority kids languishing in schools that routinely fail to teach them to read simply by sending your kids to public schools.
Benjamin Ola Akande
Dean, Webster University School of Business & Technology
Dear Moyo, Anjola and Reni,
It’s 10:15pm Central Time, Tuesday November four, 2008 and history has been made. Barack Obama has just been declared the first African American President of the United States. Frankly, I never thought this day would come. They say more people voted in this election than any other in U.S. history. Today was an affirmation that America values ideas over fear. And tonight marks the emergence of the Obama Generation.
Many Americans have wondered,- some with awe, some with alarm – who is Barack Obama, this man with an African name. Where did he come from? To some, it seems that he appeared from out of nowhere to captivate the media and the masses all around the world. But, Barack obama has been emerging all along. To the African immigrants, obama is a familiar figure. His calm demeanor and thoughtful, wise perspective is a characteristic you will find among many Africans. His fluid ability to use the spoken word is a tradition that our ancestors have used for centuries to keep their dreams alive. During the campaign Barack spoke to the past and the future as if it were in the present. He reminded America of the power of promises and effectively painted a picture of a better way and better days ahead.
We, the Obama Generation, are members of a broadly defined group of immigrants, first-generation African Americans and their children, a rich mix of people, who call America their home but whose common denominator is their link to the African continent. President-elect Obama is one of us.
We, the members of the obama generation have succeeded in virtually every walk of life. We are a people tested, resilient, and fortified with a rich cultural diversity. We are a new generation of immigrants; many of us professionals, who arrived here with well-honed skills and lots of potential, bringing with us humility, temperament, strength and resolve. Many of us came from abject poverty with a hunger to make a living and soak up the goodness of America. Others came to gain the knowledge and wisdom that America has to offer. Barack Obama’s life story is familiar to us and not that exotic at all.
We are an optimistic lot. We believe America’s future can be even more successful than its past and its present. We bring different experience’s and perspective’s to the task of breaking that impasse that has gripped this nation in its recent past – lack of trust and a lack of the will to change. Ours is a generation that eats change for breakfast.
My dear Moyo, Anjola and Reni: today a man with the name Barack Obama–whose father journeyed here from western Kenya in search of knowledge–is to be the next president of the United States of America. His victory has granted you a future of unprecedented possibilities, along with newfound responsibility and now, it is up to you to find the balance that will bring to life your dream. Our dream.
Your loving dad,
Benjamin Ola Akande
November 4, 2008
Ed Henry | BIO
White House Correspondent
This is being circulated among Obama advisers as a code of conduct for involvement in the transition ...
Obama Transition Project
Code of Ethical Conduct
As a condition of being permitted to serve as a member of the Obama Transition Project, I agree to abide by the following requirements:
Program note: As the new First Family prepares to move to the White House, we look at how their social life will change. Watch Randi Kaye's report tonight 10p ET
Randi Kaye | Bio
Think back to when you last moved.
How long did it take you to find your new favorite restaurant or decide where to work out, or get your hair done? Well, very soon, President-Elect Barack Obama and his family are going to have to figure all that stuff out.
I am spending the day in Washington D.C. and the city is absolutely buzzing about the First Family moving to town. This impending move is all my cab driver wanted to talk about!
I interviewed Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn for my story tonight on AC360. She expects the Obamas will bring a new vibe to D.C. She says there has been almost zero contact with the Bush’s the last 8 years and believes the Obamas, who are younger and have young children, will bring new energy to the city and move about town more.
Where will they go? They may favor informal restaurants. Some have suggested Cactus Cantina, a family-oriented Mexican restaurant. For ladies’ lunches, Michelle Obama may head to the Jockey Club, which re-opens this weekend, and where Jackie Kennedy used to frequent.
John P. Avlon
Author, Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics
Today is President-elect Obama's first press conference. In some ways, it's the most consequential press conference of his administration, because as the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
President-elect Bill Clinton's first press conference proved disastrous enough to derail the first years of his presidency. A planted question by a conservative reporter about gays in the military was framed as a litmus test on Clinton's trustworthiness and willingness to fulfill campaign promises. Clinton couldn't resist taking the bait and talked about it at length, giving it the appearence of a new administration priority.
As one of Clinton's advisors later said, "It sent precisely the wrong message. I'm not saying he shouldn't have taken that position, but as the first thing he did? It was exactly the sort of 'liberal elitist' issue that we'd been trying to submerge throughout the campaign. It sent a signal that he was going to govern differently from the way he campaigned – as an old Democrat."
A similar risk exists for Barack Obama. He won largely because he inspired people to believe in a post-partisan approach to problem solving, as a rejection of the hyper-partisanship of the Bush era. Now is the time to add substance to that centrist style by reaffirming his pledge to appoint a bipartisan cabinet and prioritize policies that can unite the country around the administration like energy independence, rather than getting distracted by divisive liberal special interest issues like 'card-check" or the so‑called "fairness doctrine."
Obama's first appointment of Congressman Rahm Emanuel to be Chief of Staff sends a message that he does not want to repeat the mistakes of the past. Emanuel was a veteran of Bill Clinton's transition and has learned the lessons that led to the 1994 Republican revolution. Announcing the reappointment of Secretary of Defense Gates would be a good way to build that bridge to the center on the basis of a responsible transition to a new administration led by a president who understands the need to balance idealism with realism.