I didn't intend to write here about the American election results but after hearing President-elect Obama's speech I couldn't help but be moved to write something spontaneously:
It's quite something.
Before I get ahead of myself, this victory by no means fixes our myriad problems. There will be lots of difficult times ahead and it isn't going to be easy on Obama- sure people are cheering now but as he said tonight he will have to do a lot of things many people disagree with. I almost fear the fever pitch built up around him that expectations are basically unmeetable. However I have come to feel the past 8 years have been nothing short of a rape of our nation and the most poisonous time since Watergate and Vietnam and while there will always be a segment attached to the Bush wing of the Republican party I sincerely hope in the coming years we can move past the horror and pain of the opening years of this century and onto something brighter. There's no doubt we need it.
Barack Obama. That's our new president's name? That's certainly going to take some getting used to, especially since I've long had all 43 of their names memorized and it certainly doesn't come close to resembling them. Is that a bad thing? An unfortunate aspect of this campaign and so many past ones is that this candidate was not eligible for office due to an innate part of his being. Whether because the candidate was Catholic, female, or this time around a Muslim or someone with a funny name... they've all been seen as not "American" enough or not presidential. Guess what, no matter how we look back on the birth of America through our vantage of hundreds of years later, we have never been a homogenous country and we've been made up of immigrants since day one. I am so sick of these idiots who try to say something about you disqualifies you from anything- whether it be your name (Barack or Hussein or Obama) or your religion (like Islam, and while Obama is not Muslim no one until Colin Powell finally spoke up found anything wrong with the "he's not Muslim he's a good person" explanation). There is insidious fear which permeates our nation. Fear is a reaction above all else to the unknown and breeds prejudice. Nothing erases prejudice, as a poster on the school wall said as I stood in line to vote, like familiarity. Is it naive to think having one of these "different" people as the face of our nation for the coming years might help to bring that much needed familiarity? As one of those "different" people who has at least a couple of those 'disqualifying' factors going against him (weird name, anyone?), I don't see anything wrong with hoping. I was actually inspired seeing those long lines everywhere waiting to exercise their right to vote. There just wasn't this sort of feeling in the past two national elections- I waited in line almost an hour and a half this year at the same polling station where I went right up and voted without a line at all four years ago. After the electoral messes of the past two elections I felt like America was giving up on the process, I certainly was rather disillusioned, but to see the dedication people poured into this cycle was absolutely inspiring. Yes, it is premature to say, we will return to politics as usual at some point, likely soon, but at least for tonight I feel like we're a new nation, and just a bit prouder.
Our generation has a rendezvous with destiny. Here's to a hopefully healing, safe, and almost assuredly a fascinating four years.
And one last message to those of you who think Obama's a Muslim, or that if he was a Muslim he somehow would not be an American, or that he's a traitor who hates America, or that if someone don't have the same complexions of our past presidents that person isn't presidential material, or that certain backgrounds disqualifies our right to call ourselves an American:
"We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions--bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities." -FDR