Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"It's not a matter of making history books; this may be the *cover* of the history books"

I heard this quote from Juan Williams, apparently not an Obama-lover, on Fox News. He gave an amazing summation of what it means for American to have an African-American president:

Where were you when it happened?

Last night, I left home to go take my test and it looked like Obama was winning. I raced through my test (I don't really even want to know how I did) and ran back to my car so I could listen to the radio again because I had a feeling things were going to move fast. By the time I hit the freeway for my half-hour drive home, it was pretty certain: Obama had won. I cheered in the car -- I would have raised both hands in joy, but I was driving on the freeway. Not only because the candidate I liked had won, but because of what this means for America. Because of the hopes of possibilities that truly, the best people can now rise to the top ranks of leadership, regardless of the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual preferences, their religion. Because of the historical import of this moment.

I got home, stayed in the car to listen to the rest of the speech (it was a very good speech) and then ran inside to watch the news. As the TV screens filled with crowds of ecstatic people, it started to sink in. The nightmare of the last 8 years is over. Now we can start fixing things. Whether you like Obama or not, now we can start fixing things. And, we get a young, energetic, idealistic, hopeful, serious, hard-working, cooperative, intelligent man WHO IS NOT WHITE as our leader. This BLOWS MY MIND. I could not be prouder of my country!!

I read this today on "All Americans, whatever their political views or party affiliation, should feel an enormous sense of pride today. The bitter legacy of America's enslavement and unjust treatment of black people remains. But Nov. 4, 2008, will go down in history as the day that, on the highest symbolic plane, the Rev. Martin Luther King's dream that one day his children would be judged "not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" ceased to be a dream and became a reality. Fifty-four years after the Supreme Court ruled that separate schools for black and white children were illegal, 33 years after the Voting Rights Act was passed, and just 31 years after the last miscegenation laws were struck down, a majority of Americans chose a black man to be their leader. How many of us thought that we would live to see this day? The tears and the laughter and the disbelieving exultation across America give the answer." (me wiping away a couple more tears...)

When President-elect Obama came out on stage with his beautiful family, his happy little girls, his terrific wife, I started to cry. And then the speech began. The story about the 106-year-old black woman made me cry uncontrollably -- I thought I wouldn't be able to stop. I was so deeply moved at the emotion and amazement and thankfulness for this moment beyond measure. I thought I would start sobbing when I saw Jesse Jackson's face, tears streaming down. (I'm crying right now, as I write this). And then, realizing that for the first time in a long time, anything is possible -- then I felt like joining the people I could hear out on the streets, cheering and crying and jumping up and down in joy.

All day today, as it really sinks in, I just have to take a moment now and again to hold back the tears. I'm so moved by this. My best friend and her mother were pictured at a Jesse Jackson rally, in our small-town newspaper way back in 1988 (remember that?). I can only imagine the tears of joy at her house last night, when everything that they've believed in and worked for, for so long, came to pass.

It won't be easy. He'll make mistakes. People are going to be upset. I'll probably be upset sometimes. But right now, all I can do is marvel at this magic. I'm 34 years old. I've managed to see The Wall come down, gays able to marry (although it looks like that right is now taken away. Makes me sick.). And now, a black president of the United States. Things are changing. Wahoo!!!!


Eva said...

I was with two of my new friends here at grad school: one's African American from Chicago and one's an American citizen who's half-Kenyan and half-Rwandan. There were many tears. :D

This is definitely one of those moments we will always remember; it's nice to have a wonderful one to balance out 9/11!

On a more personal note, the night was awesome because the other girls and I had a conversation about how we're all feeling kind of lonely here (students at my school don't just 'hang out' that often), so now we've resolved to have lots of girl nights!

Anyway, I'm so, so happy.

D'Arcy said...

So I guess that proposition passed? That sucks.

I was reading some reactions on Facebook from some of my cousins who live in Michigan, and all I could think was, "I'm actually RELATED to these people?" They are very concerned about the future of America after last night's results. Worried about what kind of world their children are going to grow up in because Barack Obama has been elected president. I'm really not 100% sure what their issues are with him. I just really couldn't believe they were consoling each other about Obama's victory.

Someone I work with today said that when George W. was elected, he told his kids (who were old enough to understand) that he was very worried about an America under that president, and vowed that as long as Bush was president, they would not go to America. He never expected to be held to it for EIGHT years, but he did it. He said he's missed out on a bunch of stuff, but he stuck to his beliefs and is very excited that he can finally go back to America :)

Daphne said...

It passed. It's going back to the Supreme Court, at least for the current marriages... I can't believe it.

BUT, the Obama win is great. I was reading some articles on Fox News last night and was totally shocked at the hatred I was reading.

That said, I've said some not-very-nice things about Bush, myself. But out and out lies? Calling him a terrorist? An Arab? (what's wrong with Arabs, anyway??)

Guh. People are astounding. I have to remind myself that I do admire some of the Republican theories... but I can't handle the social conservatism. I don't at all understand what people mean when they say Obama will wreck the country. Because the last 8 years have been soooooo fantastic.