Collected Wisps of Thought

{November 5, 2008}   Yes, we did!

Today feels like the day after Christmas. Never before in my lifetime have I felt so proud of my country and our political system. To be alive for this day, to see the expressions on people’s faces as Barak Obama gave his victory speech, to know this was happening live, right now, and I am a part of it… all I can say is wow. I know without a doubt that I will be telling my children and my children’s children about this day. I will tell them how my parents came to my house so we could all watch the election results together because we knew that history was about to be made. I’ll tell them how we stayed up until one in the morning watching TV, and how even when I went to bed I lay awake, my thoughts full to overflowing with gratitude and awe. I will tell them how I prayed, and will continue to pray every day for Barak Obama’s safety as he continues along this historic journey. I’ll tell them how my parents talked about their experiences living through assasinations of JFK, RFK, and Martin Luther King, but we didn’t talk about the horribleness of it, but the fact that, though it may have taken forty years, their visions have come to fruition. The forces at work in the world that sought to extinguish the good those men fought for, won only a temporary victory during those turbulent times.

Barak Obama has a tough road ahead of him — he will probably have to work harder than almost any other president to tackle the state of our nation, but historically minorities have always had to work twice as hard to succeed, so I believe he is well prepared. I believe he will surround himself with good, intelligent people who will offer their advice, and that he will make decisions not based on a desire to protect wealth, but a desire to protect people. I believe that not only the majority of Americans, but the majority of the world are desperate to see him succeed, because we all know that we’re in this together, and we’ve all seen over the last eight years that America has too much power for it to be taken lightly.

For those who do not share my glowing happiness today, I hope you will feel differently as the months and years progress. That your fears will gradually ebb into confidence. I hope you will embrace those oft quoted words of JFK “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” and think of ways to help this administration succeed. If there’s an issue you strongly disagree with, let your voice be heard, but then also find areas of commonality and let your voices be heard there as well. We are past the days when we can let our politics be ruled by single emotional issues. Hot button issues are important, but morality, justice, and prosperity are not defined by single issues but by many issues, and we must all challenge ourselves to broaden our perspectives.

Finally, to everyone of every political persuasion, every race, every religion, every gender… celebrate. Even if you voted for McCain, celebrate this historic day when we have, as a nation, elected our first African American President of the United States. Celebrate the long road that has taken us from slavery to this moment. This has been a war as surely as Iraq and Afghanistan, but it’s a war that has taken a century and the lives lost begin with those slaves who died cruel deaths. Thousands of men, women, and children whose names we no longer remember. The war seeped quietly and not so quietly through history as black people were lynched and beaten and killed. As white people who fought for change were murdered and persecuted. Each death on that bloody road has moved us towards this day. So, no matter your political affiliation or your feelings about the future, take THIS day to offer thanks that good can not be defeated forever. Sometimes the world looks grim, but vicotry will emerge in time. We can change… yes, we can.

And yes, we did.


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