04 November 2008


Every election is an "historic election," in the sense that history is made whenever a new president moves into the White House. However, this time around the outcome will be especially noteworthy, and the issues at stake seem especially crucial, what with the ugly economic panorama, interminable war-waging, the dire state of the world's ecosystems, good health care out of reach for millions, and a lingering legacy of racism, poverty, and social injustice. I turned to the Mister the other day, when news of the financial crisis was starting to hit, and wondered aloud if we would look back on the whole of our pre-2008 lives as a kind of golden age.

And yet: whatever happens, I feel energized and excited just by the fact of being alive on this memorable day, and proud of the changes that already seem to be taking place.

Some reasons the election is especially historic:

* Barack Obama would be the nation's first African American president.

* John McCain would be the oldest person to be sworn in as a new president.

* Sarah Palin would be the nation's first female vice president.

* This is the first time in history that the two main candidates for president are both sitting senators.

* This is the first time in more than 50 years that neither the sitting president nor the sitting vice president is a candidate on his party's ticket in the new presidential election.

* This has been the most expensive election campaign in history.

* This has been the longest election campaign in history.

* This is the largest-ever age gap between the two presidential candidates.

* Obama's campaign has raised a record-setting amount of money from small contributions.

* New voter registration and early voting have broken records, and voter turnout may do the same.

* For the first time in history, both candidates were born outside of the continental US.

* The two candidates are the first from their home states, Arizona and Hawaii.

* The candidates have made unprecedented use of new technology like Facebook, text messaging, YouTube, and online advertising.

(Most of this I pulled from my buzzing head after nonstop election reading, but this article covers all of these assertions, I think.)

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