Grace and graciousness

Published 11:58 am Friday, November 28, 2008

It is the sort of title Jane Austen might write, isn&squo;t it? However, I could not think of two more fitting words to describe what I witnessed as a citizen of the United States on the night of November 4.

And regardless of whom you voted for, you should feel immense pride in the dignity and integrity that your candidate showered forth in his address to the country.

Barrack Obama, in his fluid and easy style, mounted the stage and said to the world:

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&dquo;If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where any things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive … who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.&dquo;

He congratulated John McCain and Sarah Palin on their achievements and added that John McCain had &dquo;endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot even begin to imagine.&dquo; He unabashedly called his wife &dquo;the love of my life&dquo; and told his daughters he loved them &dquo;more than you can imagine.&dquo; The respect and affection the Obama family feels for each other could not have been more genuine and serves as a marvelous example of a healthy and happy marriage.

John McCain, by far, had the more difficult speech to give. Standing before an admittedly much smaller crowd in his home state of Arizona, he immediately squashed any negative vocalizations after informing his followers that he had just telephoned Obama and congratulated him upon his win. He then began with gracious eloquence:

&dquo;In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving.&dquo;

McCain was also utterly sincere when he offered his sympathy that Obama&squo;s grandmother had not lived to see this historic night. He rallied and challenged his supporters by adding:

&dquo;I urge all Americans …I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.&dquo;

The end of seemingly the longest campaign in history is here. There were simply dreadful moments of negativity, however, that style of campaigning is not something that is exclusive to the modern age. Researching the history of American presidential elections shows far nastier and blatantly untrue items than we witnessed this past year.

If we remember anything about this election in the future, let it be the content of these speeches. Enrich yourself by re-reading them. Marvel at the courage and the grace of each. Let us remember the best of each man and do our level best to rise to the same standard as they gave to us that fateful night.