Henrietta Hay Column November 21, 2008

This election brought change to nation and Western Slope

“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

Those are the words of President-elect Barack Obama.

History is the record of those things that have occurred in the past. But on Nov. 4, 2008, history was made in one night, right here, with the whole world watching.

The United States has probably the most diverse population in the world, but for 232 years its leaders have been exclusively white men. Now we have chosen as president a man whose skin is a slightly different color.

This is truly a cultural change.

This is not to say that everyone is happy about it or that the Civil Rights movement is over.  After all, we have 300 million people with 300 million different ideas. We have people with white skin and yellow, brown, and black skin. We have deep political and religious differences. And we still have bitter opposition to adding blacks and women to the power structure.

Of course we are all fighting over all sorts of things. We live in a democracy and we have freedom to speak our minds. The founding fathers gave us that.

As a culture of diversity we haven’t yet reached maturity. We have elected a black president, but we still have a long way to go to come of age.

The choice of a president was by no means the only result of this election.

I thought I had finished writing this, when suddenly the television news stations erupted with the rumors that President-elect Obama is considering Sen. Hillary Clinton for secretary of state. The only thing we know for sure as of this writing is that she flew to Chicago and had a private conversation with Obama. But her appointment is obviously a possibility.

When the whole presidential campaign started (back a generation or two ago) we thought Hillary would be the next president. I use the term “we” loosely, but she did get 18 million votes during the primaries.

When she and Obama were fighting for the Democratic nomination, I thought they would make a good team, but naturally I wanted her to be the candidate. We can now hope that she will have a strong part of the administration.

Unfortunately, nobody asked me, but I have been hoping from the day she lost the primary that she would become secretary of state.

She is liked and admired by most foreign leaders. She understands the need to re-establish our position in the world. She is a good negotiator and knows how to be tough when that is needed.

She is very intelligent, well-educated and very strong. She will make an excellent secretary of state — if the appointment is made.

Go, Hillary!

Change came to us in western Colorado this election with the defeat of Bernie Buescher in the Colorado House of Representatives.

Colorado turned from red to blue, but Mesa County is redder than ever. We rejected the man who was in line to be speaker of the House, a powerful man who was known for his skill at working with people on both sides of a question.

He was a powerful voice for western Colorado, and we are the ones who will suffer.

So we have a strong black male president, possibly a strong female secretary of state, and have lost our strongest voice in the state Legislature.

Politics take lots of weird turns. 



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