CNN Senior Political Analyst
I went back to look at the last speech that Martin Luther King gave in 1968, the day before he was assassinated.
King said, “I just want to do God's will. He's allowed me to go up to the mountain and I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promise land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight we as a people will get to the promise land.”
It seems to me that for an awful lot of people in this country, especially for African Americans, Barack Obama has said that he's part of the Joshua Generation. Martin Luther King was our Moses. We haven't ended our prejudice, but there's something about this evening and election that has made an awful lot of people feel this is the Joshua Generation, we can do something we thought we could never reach 30, 40, 50 years ago.
Editor's Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on “In Session”
In Session Anchor
YES WE DID!, I wrote in giant letters on my Facebook page on election night, tears in my eyes as I watched Barack Obama’s inspiring acceptance speech. Every moment of it was so moving. And when I heard my African-American friends talk about the symbolism of this day, that they can look into their children’s eyes and honestly say that we are all now truly equal – well, as a lifelong civil rights activist, I thought, it has happened. We shall overcome, not someday, but today.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said the night before he was assassinated, “And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land.” Hallelujah, I thought, we have arrived. Free at last, free at last.
Then I remembered my gay friends, who faced ugly ballot measures in four states. The California Supreme Court just last May issued a landmark ruling that gay people were entitled to equal marriage rights. My mother, Gloria Allred, was one of the lead attorneys in that case. I remembered Del Martin and Phyllis Lyons, together for 55 years, who were the first couple married after that decision, one in a wheelchair, the other walking slowly to the altar. “At our age,” they said, “we don’t have the luxury of time.” I remembered that on the day of that decision, citizens of San Francisco’s Castro District took down their rainbow flags and flew American flags. “For the first time in my life,” they told me, “I feel like a full citizen. I can tell my children that in the eyes of the law I am just as worthy as anyone else.” I remembered riding in Santa Monica’s gay pride parade alongside my mother in June, getting mobbed by thousands of ordinary people who were grateful that she had won for them the extraordinary privilege of simple respect.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/05/art.obama.elex.bigscreen.jpg caption="President-elect Barack Obama looks out into the crowd after his acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago"]
John P. Avlon
First things first: Today is a great day for America. We have a new President of the United States. Behind that remarkable fact are the statistical trends and milestones that made Barack Obama's election possible. So take a second to study the numbers so you can sound smarter in election-related conversation, or just get some perspective to further appreciate this moment.
By winning 52 percent of the popular vote, Barack Obama joined the ranks of FDR and LBJ in being the only Democratic presidents to get more than 51 percent of the popular vote in the past 100 years. Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton never cleared that hurdle. That's an achievement in itself.
In many ways, last night was a step towards realignment. A few days ago I posted an analysis of six swing counties that could determine the election's outcome. Barack Obama carried each and every one by a margin close to 10 points. Obama won the swing voters in the swing counties in the swing states that he needed to win this election.
CNN Anchor and Special Correspondent
Think the campaigning was challenging? The hard work begins today.
Here's what people have to remember. Black people didn’t elect Barak Obama. Yes, African Americans turned out in overwhelming numbers - 96 percent of African Americans nationwide voted for Obama.
But it was the Hispanic vote, too, that put him over the top. People debated whether Latinos would vote for an African American - they would and they did. 67 percent of Latinos who voted, voted for Obama.
Young voters turned out for Obama - 66 percent of voters under the age of 30 - voted for Obama.
New voters - who made up 11 percent of the electorate in this highly anticipated election year - 68 percent voted for Barak Obama.
And white voters... 43 percent of them, that's tens of millions of white voters, voted for Obama.
The promise of America is a promise for everyone–not just for "Joe the plumber," but all Americans who represent the diverse and changing face of our nation.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/05/art.mccain.lost.jpg width=292 height=320]
Blogger, TV host, mother
So the question is where do we Republicans go from here? At this point it’s cliché to say that we're being punished for George Bush’s sins and for economic crises that happened on our watch, and unfortunately, in the final months of a close election.
There’s no point in reminding the voters about Chris Dodd and Barney Frank who pushed mortgages for the poor but no regulations to prevent fraud, and the Democratic Congress, which took control in 2006 but did little while the mortgage and credit derivatives markets spun out of control.
The voters wanted change, even if they didn’t exactly know what Obama’s nebulous definition of change looked like. This was not the year for old white guys (or women – hello, Hillary), who had spent a lot of time in Washington.
Now, the Democrats celebrate. On the Republican side, a quieter transition is also occurring. The future of the Republican Party will be passed to a new generation of young, smart, conservative, and principled leaders like Wisconsin’s Rep. Paul Ryan who will help the Party shed its tired image and restore its core principles. FULL POST
[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
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.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/05/art.obama.elex.reac.jpg caption="Barack Obama supporters celebrate at Hyde Park Hair Salon where President-elect Barack Obama gets his hair cut on the south side of Chicago"]
Eleven months ago, I attended a John Edwards speech in the little town of Algona, Iowa. It was a Sunday afternoon, and Edwards had drawn a large crowd of mostly uncommitted voters to a local factory that made wind-turbine components. Two things soon became apparent as I interviewed a dozen or so Algonans before the speech. The first was that there were a fair number of Republicans present, a phenomenon I was beginning to notice all over Iowa. They were not yet committed to voting Democratic, but they mentioned their disappointment in George W. Bush, their frustration with the war in Iraq and their dismay with the right-wing religious drift of the state Republican Party. The last time I'd seen so many crossovers was in 1980, when Democrats — angry at Jimmy Carter and their party's leftward drift — made their presence felt at Republican meetings, heralding the onset of the Reagan era.
The New Yorker
Early this morning, the Obama family had voted at the Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School, in Hyde Park. Long after they had gone, the lawn out in front of the school was filled with reporters, mostly Europeans, filming voters. While I was doing my duty, talking to an eight-year-old kid dressed as George Washington, my colleague Peter Slevin of the Washington Post was across the street knocking on the door of someone else who had voted at the Shoesmith School this morning: William Ayers.
Ayers has avoided reporters since he became an election talking-point, scratch-pole, and general sensation. But now he answered the door of his three-story rowhouse, and I came to join the discussion. Ayers is sixty-four and has earrings in both ears. He wore jeans and Riley t-shirt—Riley the kid from “Doonesbury.” The day was fall-bright and 50th Street was filled with fallen gold leaves. Ayers waved to neighbors and kids as they went by on the sidewalk. He was, for the first time in a long time, in an expansive mood, making clear that in all the months his name has been at the forefront of the campaign, he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn—ex-leaders of the Weather Underground and longtime educators and activists in the community—have been watching a lot of cable television, not least Fox.
On the Vegas strip dozens of people, who'd had no intention of watching election results, stood on Las Vegas Boulevard, glued to the Planet Hollywood Jumbo screen showing CNN.
It was a watch party nobody intended to attend, and that people were reluctant to leave.
When the race was called, there were some cheers. And when Barack Obama finished his speech I saw a few glassy eyes and heard some applause.
But mostly people just stood and stared, taking in a moment of history they hadn't planned to experience, but will likely never forget.
Roland S. Martin
CNN Political Analyst
Obama will be sworn in January 20th, 2009. It will mark the 100th anniversary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Obama got his start in politics in Springfield, Illinois. It was a race riot in Springfield, Illinois that led to the creation of NAACP.
For African Americans, when their children say, 'I want to be a doctor,' 'I want to be a lawyer,' 'I want to be a politician,' 'I want to be an astronaut,' they can always point to an African American who achieved it. Whenever a kid says,' I want to be president,' I literally saw black parents say, son, or daughter, you might think of being something else. I have nine nieces and four nephews. When I talk to them I can actually say, 'Yes, you can,' and mean it.