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Race and politics can bring out the worst in people – and the best. My daughter Maggie, 15, is a high school sophomore. Like her older brother, who has posted blogs here before, she is an ardent Democrat – and fan of Barack Obama. Since Obama won, she has heard some ugly things from her peers.

So pardon a proud father for posting an essay she wrote for her friends on Facebook:

Obviously, I am beyond ecstatic that Barack Obama was announced President Elect of the United States and Joe Biden as the Vice President Elect. No one can argue that the last eight years haven’t exactly been our best, and we need a way to fix the errors of George W. Bush. We may disagree on who the right person is to do that job, but there are some things we cannot disagree on as a nation. We are a country founded on simple and strong values. These values have held our country together for 242 years, and we certainly aren’t letting go of them now.

Freedom of speech. My personal favorite. It ensures that we can say whatever we want, but it also trusts us with responsibility to do so respectfully. Since last night, I’ve seen way too many people talk about Barack Obama in ways no one that I know, at least, has thought of saying about John McCain. Someone said that they were going to pray for our country to get out of this mistake, and this mistake was apparently electing a man who is half White American and half African. I was appalled to see this. Did Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, everyone who participated in the civil rights movement, the slaves who fought for freedom, and so many other people sacrifice everything they had so that 150 or 40 years later, people would still feel this illogical racism and hatred? I didn’t think so. I think our country is so beautiful because of all the cultures and ethnicities that blend together. If you can’t appreciate that, then I don’t know how you sleep at night.

A friend of mine also said, and I quote, “Barack Obama needs to get elected so that someone can assassinate him.” I don’t even know what to say about that statement, except that it was ignorant and more than uncalled for. To the person who said it, I don’t know how you call yourself a Christian and an American, and I don’t know why I actually believed you when you said you had strong morals and convictions.

Now that the election is over, we need to accept the outcome no matter our political opinion. Barack Obama is the next president and nothing in the coming months will change that. If you don’t agree with his policies, fine. Not everyone is going to. I am a dedicated supporter of his and I don’t even agree with everything he plans to do. A perfect president is impossible and we shouldn’t expect it. We should, however, expect our candidates to be accepting and graceful. I disagree with John McCain on nearly everything, but he handled Tuesday night with more grace and humility than I ever thought possible from a losing candidate. It was truly inspirational to watch his speech of concession, but it was not so inspirational to see all of his supporters that I know bashing Barack Obama, our country, and the people who supported Obama. I wish those McCain supporters would have followed his brilliant example and take their disappointment in stride.

I ask every one of you to stop the bashing, arguing, and snarky comments to one another. No matter how hard you try to pretend it isn’t real, our country is reaching a new dawn with a new president. Your candidate may not have won, but we are still the United States of America, we’re still a great country, and you still live here.

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