Throughout Election Day, I had a series of realizations. I was going to call them "moments" at first, but it was more than that. A moment is something static that you look back on. These realizations were things that I thought about and rolled around in my head and am still working through.
In (mostly) chronological order:
1) The realization that Barack Hussein Obama was going to be the next President. I've been mostly convinced that Obama would be elected President for a while now, but it didn't actually hit me until I started seeing those blue states popping up. As soon as Obama won Ohio, I realized -- this is it! What does it mean? I'm still working on that.
2) The realization that a black man was the projected winner for President. I admit that I was caught up in the fact that it had actually happened. It took long enough! This one hit me over and over again from the moment the projection music came on CNN. Watching the pundits sit there in near shock and hearing their quiet, tentative voices was very moving.
3) The realization that my emotion wasn't really b/c he is black, but b/c of who he is. It was easy to think that I was moved solely or mostly b/c of his race, but as the night went on I realized that it's b/c of his message and his power. He was able to convince millions of people around the world that it is okay to have hope. That a world where we look to our differences as a point of discussion and potential unity is not beyond the realm of possibility. Wow, what a powerful thought. To see it manifest itself and spread like wildfire was truly incredible.
4) The realization that for the first time in my life, I am okay with calling myself an American. I was not born in the U.S., and was reminded of such too often to count. My hopes for improving the country and pointing out its flaws still get a "well why don't you just go back to where you came from then??" I didn't become a citizen of this country until I was 18, so I haven't had very long to actually feel like an American anyway. And since turning 18, it's been a messy Republican government that does not exactly inspire a sense of citizenship in somebody who already feels so disconnected from being American. But now it's changed. Now I feel like I am part of a country that isn't afraid to take this chance and make this leap. So, I'm an American now.
5) The realization that the work has just begun. This might seem weird, but as somebody who is always trying to move forward, this was a great thing for me. We can put the drama of the competition behind us and focus on the questions, the work, and the struggles that are ahead of us. The discussion has already begun in the blogosphere and hopefully it will spread quickly. We can't give up and look to this point as the end. It's only the beginning.
- At Wed Nov 05, 10:28:00 PM Renee said...
I remember the feeling when I saw CNN declare Obama President. It really got to me and I am a Canadian. I don't think it is because I overly identify with the states as much as I look at it as a partial victory for POC. There is so much work to be done globally for us to achieve equality. Obama to me is more a symbol of what can be that what really is. I don't expect his presidency to change the world as much as I expect it to reinvigorate our global march towards a more common humanity.
- At Wed Nov 05, 11:24:00 PM Danny said...
I don't expect his presidency to change the world as much as I expect it to reinvigorate our global march towards a more common humanity.
I agree. The vase majority of Obama's presidency is going to be taken up with trying to clean up Bush's mess. And we all know that a president's presidency is heavily influenced by the previous one. The things that Bush did are going to have a big ripple effect that will go into Obama's term.
I think that the most positive outcome of his presidency is going to be the fact that this is proof that progress has been made.