Hope and Purpose

Last night I went to sleep after knowing that all the networks had called the Western states for Barack Obama (Hon ’08), ensuring his victory in the election. We’d spent much of the evening with colleagues and friends watching the electoral map turn blue, but it was late and Sophie had school in the morning….

photo by Jessica Brownfeld '10

photo by Jessica Brownfeld ’10

Sometime after midnight I awoke to hear more than the usual roar from outside our windows. I regretted that I hadn’t gotten over to Usdan earlier in the evening, and I lay in bed thinking that this was a campus celebration I shouldn’t miss. Throwing on some clothes and a Wes softball cap, I headed over to the University Center and saw folks dancing, cheering and chanting. Students who had worked hard on campaigns, and others who had just invested their hopes in Barack’s message of change were out in force on the terrace of Usdan, sharing in this historic, glorious moment. We waved an American flag, and I marveled at the feelings of hope and enthusiasm that were rippling through this Wesleyan crowd.

photo by Jessica Brownfeld '10

photo by Jessica Brownfeld ’10

I have been proud of the efforts of our students, faculty and staff as they have registered voters, organized neighbors, and articulated fundamental issues. As our president-elect said last night, we have a long road ahead of us, but if we can work together with a spirit of optimism and purpose, we have an opportunity to improve our country. Let us seize that opportunity!

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6 thoughts on “Hope and Purpose

  1. On behalf of the North End Action Team, I also want to thank the many Wesleyan students who worked with our youth leadership group, the Teen Dream Society, to do door knocking and voter registration over the last few months and voter education on Election Day. The students were so inspiring to our North End kids and really helped spread enthusiasm and hope. The North End increased voter registrations from roughly 1200 at the beginning of the year to over 1700 yesterday, thanks in great part to the help of the Wes students. Additionally, the North End voter turnout went from an average of 20-30% to 70%!

    Thank you especially to Lily Mandalin (’10) who has been working really hard weekly for the last year.

    Congraulations to everyone and thank you so much!!
    Izzi Greenberg
    Executive Director

  2. Bravo, President Roth.
    Bravo, Wes.
    You do America proud.

    I saw the folk singer Joan Baez, my contemporary and a guiding light in an earlier Revolution, perform the night after the election. She began by singing an old favorite of my generation, “We Shall Overcome”, and spoke often and fondly about her friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr. and her participation the freedom marches of the 1960s. It was only then that I realized how far America had come this election day in fulfilling King’s wonderful dream. Perhaps, we are not yet on the mountain top. Perhaps King’s dream is not completely fulfilled, yet. But we have sure put a home run on the Scoreboard of Liberty.

    Maybe, like pushing a pendulum, it took the barbaric, primitive, criminal behavior of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld crowd to allow America to swing as far toward liberty and freedom as it now has — just as it took Bull Connor and George Wallace to make the Civil Rights Act a reality. Criminals and thugs may have a purpose in God’s wonderful and mysterious world.

    Well done, Wes. Power to the people !!!!

    Warm regards from a very satisfied Republican.

  3. We were there in Culver City, California, at the Hyatt Regency (Obama’s Southern Californian Headquarters) celebrating Obama’s victory!! It was amazing. I am proud of my country, and feel connected with the first US President to be of my generation. Blessings!! Dr. Brendan Armm

  4. After a well deserved celebration let’s all buckle down and remember that just as a nasty tumor will always try to return and spread, let’s not think for a minute that the cancer that is the modern conservative movement will simply turn and crawl away into oblivion because of our one perfect storm victory. They will regroup and begin attacking Obama and crew at 1st light and will be as relentless as their virulence commands. 9-11 gave them the perfect cover to exact their bloody (our soldiers in Iraq) coup on a frightened and docile nation. We must continue to empower Americans to be brave enough and smart enough to never fall for the same grotesque Orwellian word-games that drove our nation to line up to vote against their own instincts and interests in 2004. Obama must be the beginning of an extended era where we see the end of the modern 2 party system-not to make 3 or 4 parties but to make one party–the party of all the people–the Democrats. The fight has just begun. And just in time. God Bless Obama for stepping up and throwing the 1st punch.

  5. As a class of ’82 alum I simply wanted to say how moved I was by the involvement of Wesleyan students and alumni in this election. President Roth’s description of Wesleyan’s election night celebrations reminded me of the Wesleyan I once knew, have never forgotten and am so happy to see once again.

  6. I was so moved by President-elect Barack Obama’s commencement address to the graduating class in May that I determined to respond with some kind of service. I am now a reader in the StartMakingaReaderToday (SMART) program in Portland, OR and spend 1/2 hr with each of two second graders once a week. (And receiving so much more than I give to these two young people).

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