Don Williams
Photo by Justin Williams

Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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I must be dreaming, Obama's still ahead and it's November
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   11/01/2008)

My God, can it be true?

Barack Obama, person of color, is about to be president.

Barack Obama, of the radical sounding cartoon name.

Barack Obama, eloquent and thoughtful author.

Barack Obama, Constitutional Law professor.

Barack Obama, champion of bottom-up economics and bottom-up government as waters to lift all boats.

Barack Obama, who says out loud that global warming is real, that we play a role!

Barack Obama, who argued against bombing, invading and occupying Iraq.

Barack Obama, who would talk to enemies.

Barack Obama, who told Wolf Blizter that energy independence would be his second priority behind financial solvency, followed by universal healthcare and dealing with the war in Iraq.

Obama, who ran the cleanest campaign in years and won again and again.

Obama, who reached across aisles to pass landmark legislation, such as a bill to get control of leftover Cold War nukes.

Obama, who honors community integrity.

Obama, who honors both science and spiritual yearning.

Obama, who eschews racial bashing.

Obama, who stands up against “swift-boating,” radical sermonizing and calls people out for character smears.

Obama, who inspires a song in the heart of the world.

Yes, I gush.

And yes, I ignore hard realities, as do we all from time to time—possibly every moment of every day--in order to maintain sanity.

So, before tearing the patriotic bunting off this dream of ours, try to remember a time you've yearned for leaders and messengers who speak to your hopes and not to your fears. Leaders who inspire the part of your heart that yearns to fly rather than the part that crouches in darkness.

Here you have such leadership, if you're willing to seize it, right at your fingertips.

Savor the moment.

Celebrate the vote, the victory.

Work to make it happen.

Come 2009 we can back fill, revise, hold Obama's feet to the fire, return to old habits of thought.

If. We. Must.

Something tells me won't have to. For once we'll have a unified government under an articulate administrator who is one part prophet, poet, policy wonk and, yes, warrior, should push comes to shove.

No need to remind me it's not a done deal.

The people who supported all the bad policy that led to nationalizing our banks on the way to racking up a $10-trillion! national debt are telling us Obama's a socialist. Absurd as that sounds, who knows? This latest in a series of low, dishonest tactics could work. The suspense is killing me.

After all, I've always been skeptical of our chances for success. I'm the one who chided a starry-eyed friend at a party last winter, just after Obama won the Iowa caucuses, for even dreaming this could become a reality. That a man of color with the subversive sounding cartoon name Barack Hussein Obama, could be our next president.

“Honey, why set yourself up?” I asked. “This country won't let that happen.” I still hear the condescension dripping from my lips. And yet, miracle of miracles. I was wrong! It's happening!

Wake me up. I must be dreaming!

And yet… and yet….

Exit polls suggested John Kerry won in 2004. And in 2000, Gore recorded more than half-a-million more votes than u-no-hu and was still denied the presidency.

Had all votes been honored, it's likely 9/11 would've been prevented, that a million innocent Iraqis would be alive, the battle against global warming would have an eight-year head start, energy independence would be more than a pipedream, our banks just might be solvent, we'd likely be on our way to universal healthcare, old-growth forests would still be intact and mountaintop removal would be passe.

Heaven help us. We can't let what happened to Gore happen again.

We need a theft-proof, Electoral College-proof, Supreme Court-proof, hanging-chad-proof margin of victory.

And so I'm urging all my friends and relations, be they Republican, Democrat or Independent, be they black, red, white, blue, orange or green…

This once vote with the hopeful part of your heart--for peace, reconciliation, diplomacy, sane energy and environmental policies, for research and development and action on global warming--and NOT with the crouching, distrustful part that advocates bankrupting our children to build nukes we don't need, fight more wars we don't need, give fossil fuel companies tax breaks they don't need, embrace torture we don't need and other affronts to civil liberties. Help reclaim our nation.

There's a new day coming. Be part of it by casting a vote for Barack Obama.

And wake me when it's over.