Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008 | 2:08 a.m.
President-elect Barack Obama understands the dynamics of an inclusive society as well as anybody. It was evident in the Democrat’s ground game, which aggressively pursued a broad-based constituency that represents the true face of America rather than the “Joe the Plumber” cliche embraced by Republican opponent John McCain.
It bore fruit in Obama’s rejection of blue state-red state divisiveness, as reflected in his victories in former Republican strongholds Virginia and Ohio.
And it was obvious in his quest to return the United States to its rightful place on the world stage as a respected global leader willing to work with other nations through diplomacy. It was no surprise, then, that celebrations broke out worldwide when Obama was declared the winner Tuesday night.
That spirit of inclusiveness should also benefit Nevada, which delivered its five electoral votes to Obama. Nevada has been treated like an unwanted stepchild by President Bush, whose administration has been trying to ram the nation’s high-level nuclear waste down our throats. That won’t be the case with Obama, who opposes a dump because of concerns about its safety and the potential hazards of transporting the waste by rail.
In an eloquent victory speech delivered before a crowd of more than 100,000 people in Chicago’s Grant Park — a crowd that represented the diversity of this nation — Obama spoke of the election results as the answer to people who question whether America is a place where all things are possible.
“It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled,” Obama said. “Americans ... sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
Even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a Bush loyalist who is black, was moved by Obama’s transformational victory, calling it an “extraordinary step forward” for the nation.
That a black man has finally won the presidency also speaks volumes about how far this country has grown from the ugly roots of slavery, poll taxes and segregated schools, buses and lunch counters to embrace the philosophy of inclusiveness, where everyone can feel that they belong in this country and that the country belongs to them.