Historic presidential race will benefit America

Published 9:12 pm Tuesday, September 2, 2008

An old saying goes that you shouldn’t talk about politics — or religion — at the dinner table. Some may consider that old axiom a good suggestion but at least one these topics was all anyone wanted to talk about at the water coolers, lunch tables and just about anywhere else you went over the weekend.

I guess it just comes with the territory when our society is part of a historic presidential election, a race that already seems to have many within our county energized and enthused about their role in democracy.

Everywhere I went Friday, people wanted to talk about Barack Obama’s speech and his mark on history as the first black man to accept a major party’s presidential nomination.

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People on both sides of the aisle were quick to acknowledge the monumental impact this moment had on the legacy of our nation and quest for equality. Republican presidential candidate John McCain showed a lot of class by running television advertisements that congratulated Obama saying, “this is truly a good day for America. Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, ’Congratulations … Tomorrow, we’ll be back at it. But tonight Senator, job well done.’’

Then McCain made history of his own less than 12 hours later when he announced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would be his running mate, becoming the first female on a Republican presidential ticket.

Many pundits were shocked at the choice of the 44-year-old with limited political experience but who was considered a developing star for the GOP.

These marks on history don’t even take into account Hillary Clinton’s involvement earlier in the nomination process or the fact that McCain would be oldest man to ever be elected to his first term as president.

It was exciting to hear people that wouldn’t otherwise be interested talking about the ideas that Barack Obama was bringing to the table.

It was exciting to hear political affiliation tossed aside as people were talking about the uniqueness of the McCain/Palin ticket.

But, you know what was most exciting? Just to hear people talking about national politics at all, regardless of whether they fit under Democrats, Republicans, Undecided or some other label that will head to the polls in a little more than two months.

Local races usually take center stage and even presidential races don’t spur the level of voter turnout that our nation needs.

Maybe this is the sign of things to come. Several “watch parties” across the county drew decent turnouts. GOP events are expected to do the same and get supporters energized.

So don’t listen to that old saying. Talk about politics at the dinner table. Talk about politics at any table. Just keep talking all the way to the polls and into the history books.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.