I've been a McCain supporter for something like twenty years. Yet I didn't vote for him yesterday.
Like most people, I first heard of McCain when he got in trouble as one of the Keating Five. I heard about his remarkable history in Viet Nam and watched him struggle to regain his reputation by fighting like hell against the kind of bad government he himself had been guilty of.
I saw him turn the negative of the scandal into something really remarkable and really positive with the McCain/Feingold Campaign Reform Act.
I saw him struggle with is own party and be rejected as their presidential nominee in 2000 for being right when his party was wrong and the bitter betrayals in South Carolina that killed McCain's hopes for the nomination and pushed Bush into office.
McCain would have been a great president. I wish to hell he would have been president in 2000 instead of George Bush. Think of how different things might have been.
But none of us knew that in 2008 the Democratic party would offer not one, but two presidential candidates that could, just by getting elected, change the scope of America's future.
The thing is: no matter how remarkable a person John McCain is, no matter how brilliant his record in the senate, no matter how brave or moving his personal history may be, no matter how great he is, there was no way he could give people hope the way Barak Obama did. Not hope because of the man, but hope because of the nation, hope because of us.
There's no way electing John McCain could make people believe that now they too might become the beneficiary of America's promise, that they too are now part of the plan.
No one could say "I've waited all my life to vote for a man like John McCain."
It doesn't really matter what kind of president Barak Obama will become. The day after he's sworn in he goes from being a fundamental paradigm shift in the history of the world to being just another man.
You see, it's not about what McCain did or didn't do and it's not about what Obama can or can't or might do, it's about what we the people did.
It's about us finally being willing to judge a man by the content of his character and not the color of his skin or any other superficial element. It's about us finally taking that last step and fully living up to the promise that all men are created equal, no matter who they are.
McCain was my candidate, but this wasn't my moment. This was a moment for the people who didn't look like me, for the people who didn't grow up the way I did, for the people who never really had a chance before.
I've had many chances to elect people who were like me and I'll have many more, but for the others, for the people who weren't like me, this was their first chance ever and, in the end, I couldn't bring myself to take that away, so I cast my vote with them for Barak Obama.