Last night, I stayed up late to witness history. Joe was on a work trip 4 hours away. The girls were tucked into their beds and the dogs were snoozing quietly on their pillows in the floor beside me. Lights out, sitting in my warm, cozy bed, I waited impatiently for election returns. I flipped the channels from CNN to MSNBC, even to FOX News (God forgive me), wanting the latest alerts. Then, during a quick goodnight call from Joe, words burst onto the screen announcing the projection that Barack Obama would be our 44th president. H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, people.
Granted, I probably wouldn't be as interested in it all had Obama not been my candidate. But he didn't start out as my candidate. In the primary, Hillary Clinton was my candidate and I was disappointed with her defeat. So I turned to Obama, interested in what he had to say. I can tell you that from the outset there was never a CHANCE I would vote for John McCain. Even before the Republicans decided every woman in America was an idiot and placed Sarah Palin at his side. I just couldn't do it. He is nearly as old as my grandfather would have been were he here today. Did I agree with any of my grandfather's politics? No. He was a swell guy and I loved him, but he lived in another time and his politics were outdated in my young opinion. So, too, John McCain.
My Republican friends are posting notes on their Facebook pages, great sarcastic notes about now they can quit their jobs and just rake in all this money the government is going to give us now that Obama has won. The Christian folks I mingle with at school during the week are quoting Bible verses and talking about *getting what we deserve*, as if God is punishing us all with an Obama win in the election. I want to scream at these people and ask them to look back at where they were 8 years ago and where they are now and tell me that they are really in a better place. I don't know many people who can say they are. Can anybody really look at our current president and wistfully yearn for 4 more years under that regime? I don't see how.
I get how bad it stinks when your guy doesn't get in. I sat in St. Mary's Hospital 8 years ago, the night Syd was born, and watched the confusion at the beginning of the Al Gore/G.W. debacle. I know how sick I felt when Gore was robbed and how sick I still feel when thinking about how different things could have been had he won. But even so, if Al Gore had won that night, history wasn't made. He was just another 40/50-something white man entering the White House. The status quo.
So my question is how, even if you are Republican, Independent, whatever, how can you not feel privileged to have lived long enough to witness this? How can it not impact you at your core? If these Republicans, who are supposedly the most patriotic, flag-waving, U.S.A.-loving bunch in the land, are truly who they claim to be, how can they NOT be moved by the strides that were made by merely electing a man of color as the leader of our country? By electing Obama, we have stood by our "Land of the Free" label, where all men are created equal, right? I thought it was most interesting during the speeches last night that the group with McCain booed at the mention of Obama's name and the group with Obama cheered at the mention of McCain's name.
So do I think life is going to be all kinds of fabulous now? No. Obama has years of difficulties ahead. The mess he has inherited may not be fixable. But at least he is interested in fixing it. At least he is interested in something other than big oil and another 100 years in Iraq. At least he acknowledges the economy crisis and the need for healthcare reform. At least he is interested in reversing the damage we have done to our planet so that we can leave our children and our children's children in a survivable environment. At least he SEES us. At least.
Today, I woke the girls and told them they were alive when history was made. We talked about how their children will read history books about the first black president and how they can tell them how excited their mother was that night. And I hope those books will be filled with details of how our country entered a new era that night. I hope -- something I haven't been able to do for eight long years.
I'm going to post a little snippet of his speech last night, just the last 3 minutes or so. You can find the rest just about anywhere on the net. If you love him, enjoy. If you don't, well, maybe you might give it a listen, a real listen, and have a little faith. That's about all we've got left anyway.