Today is the dawn of a new day, the beginning of a new age, the start of something big. And, as always, when new doors open others close.
Of course I’m referring to the start of CityBeat’s 15th year of publishing. This issue of CityBeat in print is Volume 15, Issue 1, a momentous turning of the calendar.
Oh yeah, the United States has a new president-elect today. I guess that’s pretty big news as well.
I write this column on Election Day not knowing the results of the presidential contest, but I have a good feeling that Barack Obama will prevail. You’ll know by time you read these words; if you don’t and we’re headed to a repeat of the Florida fiasco in 2000, God help us all. (Find CityBeat's coverage of the election results and Election Night reactions here.)
No matter who wins, the presidency will turn over to new hands. This was the first election in more than 50 years in which neither the sitting president nor sitting vice president was a candidate, and it felt different in many ways.
John McCain was tarred with the failures of President Bush’s two terms, and he sold his maverick soul to cozy up to the religious fundamentalists and neocons who constitute the Republican Party’s base. But McCain did not spring from the Bush/Rove lineage and would have, I believe, governed in a more centrist, pragmatic manner.
Obama was the first presidential finalist from my generation, someone who grew up in the 1960s and whose children are about the same age as mine.
I feel a sense of hope and anticipation as I recall John F. Kennedy’s words in his inaugural address that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.”
And don’t forget the demographic changes evident with this election. Obama was set to become the first African American president, and Sarah Palin would have become the first woman vice president (and possibly president, given McCain’s age and health concerns).
Yes, anyone can become president in this country — even a biracial boy born in Hawaii and raised by a single mother or a beauty queen born in Idaho and raised in Alaska. Maybe this election also brought the country’s last two states fully into the fold.
Can we finally close the door on the concepts of “glass ceilings” and “permanent victimhood” so prevalent in American society? Maybe not, but certainly we can see that the U.S. is closer than ever to healing those old wounds and treating every citizen fairly and equally.
We close the doors on the first 14 years of CityBeat, and a presidential election is a great way to do it. This has been our fourth such race, and I was recalling our endorsements in each one as I reminisced about the paper’s early years.
In 1996, just two years into our existence, CityBeat went out on a limb and endorsed Libertarian Party candidate Harry Browne for president. President Clinton had been a disappointment, we said at the time, and Republican old-timer Bob Dole lacked enthusiasm and new ideas.
Sticking with independent third party candidates, we backed Ralph Nader for president in 2000. We were convinced, as Nader was (and still is), that there was little to no difference between the Democratic and Republican party machines in the post-Clinton era, and Al Gore didn’t earn our vote.
Tragically, we Nader backers were proven wrong after George W. Bush took office and made awful decision after awful decision following 9/11. We endorsed John Kerry in 2004, knowing that this country would suffer under four more years of Bush.
Like our previous endorsements, this year’s backing of Obama was offered in the spirit of what CityBeat stands for: independent thinking, progressive ideas and dedication to equality, diversity and tolerance. And there’s the added bonus of this election possibly seeing our endorsed presidential candidate actually win, but who’s counting?
And so we close the door on eight years of fear, deceit and mismanagement in the White House and hopefully on a three-election losing streak for CityBeat endorsements.
With an uncertain financial future, with American forces fighting in the Middle East and with middle- and lower-class citizens really struggling, we look to our next president to lead. This is a critical time in our nation’s history.
Facing a tumultuous media landscape both locally and nationally, CityBeat looks to our next year and beyond. We plan to continue being a leader for progressive thought and action in Greater Cincinnati, and we hope you’ll stay with us for the next chapter.
Onward and upward!
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