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What Will Your Toast Be Tonight?
Alex Steffen, 4 Nov 08

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Awake long before I wanted to be, my body's clock suspended somewhere over Greenland, I sat in the pre-dawn silence, listened to the rain drumming on the skylight, the wind brushing tree branches against the window, and I thought for a long time about my nation's path ahead.

I wrote a whole long letter, that I thought I'd share with you, but it boils down to this: the world needs America now more than it knows, and more than we Americans can imagine. It needs America at its best -- the brash, optimistic, idealistic, multicultural, big-hearted, hard-working and ingenious America that lives on, still, even today, even despite everything that's happened in the last eight years. There's a future to be built, and that's the job at which Americans have always excelled. We need to transform America from the anchor of resistance to the engine of intelligent innovation.

So, tonight, when the poll numbers come in, and worldchanging people around the world celebrate (knock wood), I hope that we'll all fill a glass and raise it in a toast to the future we aspire to start building on Wednesday: bright green, planetary, fair, free and fantastic.

Then have a second one for me. It's been a long eight years.

What will your second toast be?

(image credit: EssG, Creative Commons.)

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Comments

I'm toasting to a man who took his leave from this world we are trying to change. Because while he may have had his own demons, the brilliant words he penned ring true:

"Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness because it's so socially repulsive. But it's pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people's thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real...

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day."
David Foster Wallace (http://www.marginalia.org/dfw_kenyon_commencement.html)

We CAN get beyond this default setting. In the challenges to come, I toast to the idea that we WILL.


Posted by: Xarissa on 4 Nov 08

I'll toast the Bush Administration being justly rewarded: investigations, indictments, incarceration.

Then I'll toast everyone who went out and voted for hope today.


Posted by: Kate on 4 Nov 08


I'll toast my daughters, 13 and 17, and an election that might finally serve them and the future they will help build -- so that when THEY vote, they will know just how much difference it can make!


Posted by: Ted on 4 Nov 08

This says it as well as anything:

Let the Day Begin -- The Call

Here's to the babies in a brand new world
Here's to the beauty of the stars
Here's to the travellers on the open road
Here's to the dreamers in the bars

Here's to the teachers in the crowded rooms
Here's to the workers in the fields
Here's to the preachers of the sacred words
Here's to the drivers at the wheel

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin, let the day begin

Here's to the winners of the human race
Here's to the losers in the game
Here's to the soldiers of the bitter war
Here's to the wall that bears their names

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin, let the day begin, let the day start

Here's to the doctors and their healing work
Here's to the loved ones in their care
Here's to the strangers on the streets tonight
Here's to the lonely everywhere

Here's to the wisdom from the mouths of babes
Here's to the lions in the cage
Here's to the struggles of the silent war
Here's to the closing of the age.

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin

Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Let the day begin
Here's to you my little loves with blessings from above
Now let the day begin, let the day begin, let the day start


Posted by: Skip Mendler on 4 Nov 08

My toast tonight will depend on people actually getting out and voting - and getting friends and neighbors to vote. Show leather wins elections. By tonight, everyone should be too tired to drink much. Celebrate tomorrow.


Posted by: David Foley on 4 Nov 08

To the reality based community!


Posted by: Stefan Jones on 4 Nov 08



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