Tuesday, November 04, 2008

did you ever?

Did you ever think this day would come? The end of this interminable campaign, of course, but even more astounding, did you ever think the day would come when this nation would allow a black man to get to this point?

I didn't. I can still hear the pundits and the talking heads pontificating about whether or not America "is ready." I remember feeling despair at the beginning, knowing how desperately we need a change of government, feeling frustrated and hopeless that the Democratic candidates were unelectable. Female, black, Mexican-American, new agey woo-woo kooky. It's a measure of the toll the Bush administration has taken on my psyche that I would look at what was a very fine ~ exceptional ~ slate of candidates and find them lacking because they didn't fit the mold.

On the other hand, I'd look at, and listen to, the candidates on the other side and my heart would sink even further. The sameness, the tired arguments, the overemphasis on national security, the very white, very middle aged, very pompous sameness.

As a social democrat, none of these people came close to my vision of effective government. Such is life in America. We take what we can get, and my support went first to John Edwards, then to Hillary Clinton, and finally, after the Rev. Wright thing and after his glorious speech on race, to Barack Obama. I am happy with my candidate. I am inspired by him and he makes me feel hopeful, comforted. I haven't had any Kool-aid in years. I am simply capable of hearing what he is saying.

And what he has said to me is that he also has hope and that he believes in this country and the people in it. I believe we can make things better here, I do. Barack Obama is brilliant and an effective motivator, a consensus-building candidate who inspires and brings people together. It's not "just words" when those words change hearts and minds and attitudes.

But more than anything, I remember how things were when I was little. I remember "colored" and white waiting rooms at the train station. I remember colored and white water fountains. Schools were separate and terribly unequal. In my little town, all ~ all ~ African Americans lived in Dixie Hill, the lowest lying area of that county, right next to the Arkansas River, which flooded every spring. I remember the absolutely casual and accepted expressions of racism. And I remember too well the hot rage that simmered after the Civil Rights Act and into the '70s.

It is amazing and affirming and awe inspiring to see this happen. I believe that Barack Obama is a rare candidate, a once-in-a-lifetime combination of intellect, temperament, and ability. But that doesn't change the fact that this election is historic and glorious. It won't fix things and it doesn't make up for our sordid past, but it feels magnificent and it makes me so very, very happy.

When I voted, I thought of my grandchildren and how even at 10 and 8, they have been aware of and involved in this election. They will come to adulthood in a world where a man like them ~ of mixed race ~ can take the highest office in the land with overwhelming support. I can't think of that without crying. I know it will happen. We will make history. Si, se puede.

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4 Comments:

Blogger joe said...

I am feeling, just a tiny bit, the weight and the darkness beginning to lift. I hope you feel it too. I think, from your post, that it's obvious you do...

A hug to you today!

November 04, 2008 1:41 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Well said! Check out my grand daughters campaigning with me! They were so excited...yes, that's the 4 yr. old with the NO on 8 sign!! They will be a part of history.........I cried when I filled out my ballot!

November 04, 2008 2:35 PM  
Blogger Dusty said...

I am hoping racism is going the way of the dinosaur..extinct. ;)

Then we can begin to heal America and be one nation.

November 05, 2008 10:19 AM  
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November 07, 2008 12:57 PM  

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