Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This Defining Moment

I was brought to tears tonight, watching the vote tally go over the necessary 270 to send Barack Obama to the White House in January as the 44th President of the United States of America.

It's hard to explain all I felt at the moment and what I'm still feeling. Relief. Hope. Pride in my fellow Americans. I'm feeling more patriotic now than I've ever felt in my life. I'm proud of this nation.

At this moment I know - for the first time in my life - racists are a minority in this country. Finally. We have reached the tipping point. There are more of us now who judge people on things more meaningful than the color of their skin. I've been waiting for this day for a very long time. A day when we would chose a person for a job based on nothing more than their qualifications. It's big. It has so many ramifications for so many things. It's exciting. It's hopeful.

Trish had an election watch party and I'm so thankful I was able to be with her and Teresa and other supporters tonight. We were all hugging and feeling a hope we haven't felt for the last eight years.

There were many milestones along the way, but I was holding my breath at each stage, waiting for the moment when he would go over.

It felt good to celebrate with other people as the various states went to Obama.

Although most people left after he won, Trish, Teresa and I couldn't wait to hear Obama speak to the nation for the first time as President-elect.

Many of us were on our cell phones - texting and calling family and friends tonight. Andrea was holding the phone up to the TV so her sister in Virginia, who doesn't have a TV, could hear some of the proceedings. I was thinking about how technology has affected this election and even our processing of the election.

Of course, The Lope was in attendance. He agreed to a photo op with Sharon, Jocelyn and me. Those are three happy Obama supporters - four including The Lope.

The Hutchinson News was at the election party and captured a photo of me, too.

To those of you who voted for John McCain, I ask that you give us the pleasure of celebrating for awhile. And then I ask that you give Barack Obama a chance to be the president for ALL of us.

I know how those of you feel who are scared. I've been scared since Bush took office - truly frightened - of what would happen next. Although you may not think there was any reason to be frightened, I was, and still am. So, I understand that you're frightened of what the future holds. Really I do. I know nothing I can say will address that. So, I just ask you to give Obama a chance to treat us all well, to lead us into a new future where you and everyone else can flourish.

None of us ever knows all that the future holds, and I have no doubt Obama will disappoint us at some point - even those of us who have been gung-ho supporters - because politics sometimes requires more compromise than anyone finds palatable. I'm just asking you to give him a chance to be good for all of us. Just a chance.

We face a difficult road ahead. Regardless of who won tonight that would have been the same. Surely we can all agree on that and maybe we can find a way - together - for solutions. I just ask you to give him a chance. And hope that maybe you'll come to see Obama as bringing something valuable to the table for everyone, regardless of who you voted for in this election.
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Anonymous said...

I am also truly excited about our new President-Elect! Unfortunately for me, where I live, I'm in the minority (no pun intended). This is definitely McCain/Palin territory. I want to thumb my nose at all of them, and holler "I told you so!" at the top of my lungs, but I'll respect their closed-mindedness...for a little while, anyway. I wish I could say you were right, that racists are truly a minority in this country; based on my experiences and those of my family over the past few weeks, however, I'm not seeing it. My step-daughter was harrassed in a restaurant parking lot over her Obama bumper sticker. My niece isn't talking to her father because he voted for Barack. I just want to shake them all, and tell them to wake up...this is a great day for America...don't they realize how far we've come? In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't all that long ago that black people couldn't even VOTE, and look where we are now! I think it's WONDERFUL!!

Patsy Terrell said...

Kansas is very republican so I understand! But at least Florida went for Obama, which I was very happy to see!!! Kansas was red as blood, as usual. But that didn't stop those of us who are democrats from celebrating.

I think racism is alive and well and don't mean to imply otherwise. I WISH I could say that's not the case. But, finally, for the first time, a majority of people were willing to look beyond color and pick the best person. I consider that a milestone!

Someone gave me the finger yesterday because of my Obama bumper sticker. My gut reaction is to be mean, but I've decided to take the high road and just beg people to give Obama a chance. I know he can't fix everything right away but I think it will DEFINITELY be better than it has been for the past 7 1/2 years. I can't imagine anyone thinks Bush is doing a great job.

I grew up in the south in a changing time. I witnessed racism up close and personal and frankly just didn't understand it. I can't say that I ever addressed it on behalf of the black kids I knew - like I wish I had - but I just wasn't processing it as racism. I realize how stupid this sounds, now, but I didn't grasp the difference between what now I would see as racism and at the time I saw as the teasing that was doled out to everyone. But, I eventually understood this wasn't just teasing - that it went MUCH deeper.

Until this election I haven't gotten that racism involves so much fear. Again, I realize how stupid that sounds. I've always just thought if people actually THOUGHT about their views, they'd see that people are people, regardless of how they look. In my pollyannaish way I just thought most bigotry - not all but most - was the result of that lack of "examined thought" and that explained why people would like an individual and not a group. In this election cycle I came to understand it's much deeper than that - some white people are AFRAID of black people. I realize that people of color may think I'm an idiot for just getting that. I knew it was the case for some people, but I didn't realize it was the base for most racism. So, I thrilled that a majority of people don't feel that. That's progress, I think.

I didn't like the part of McCain's speech when he was trying to say many people had felt disenfranchised. I knew that's what he was trying to say, but how it came off to me was, "Obama wouldn't be president if it weren't for black people." I was shaking my finger at the TV and saying, "Don't you go there. Don't." But he did. I know what he meant, but how it came out it was as if he was trying to say Obama was only going to be the president because people of color voted for him. I'm like, "HEY! White person here who has been on the phone calling for Obama. I WANT him in office. He's my president too."

All in all I'm just THRILLED we're at this point where we're going to have a person in the white house because he's the best candidate and he happens to be something other than an old white man to top it off. I'm so tired of old white men running everything. So tired of it.

Katrina was a huge turning point to me. When I watched people dying in the streets for lack of food and water I was horrified. Meanwhile Bush and McCain are off celebrating McCain's 69th birthday. Katrina response - or lack thereof more accurately - was brought to you by old white men. What more needs be said!?!?!?!?!?

I'm so excited by the possibility of the next eight years!