Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A New Day

This song by Curtis Mayfield has been running through my head for the last two days so I went onto YouTube to hear it and found this.




The Superman image made me smile.

*

It's been an emotional twenty-four hours for me. I had not realized how much this would affect me. Yes, I knew I'd be ridiculously happy if Obama won, but I don't think I realized until it happened how much the historical element of it would move me. Seeing Jesse Jackson crying in the crowd brought tears to my own eyes and hearing Barack Obama announced as our 44th president of the United States is something I'll never forget. And just like my father did during the first moon walk, I photographed the television (while my family laughed and cheered, I photographed the images that were coming over the screen) almost as if I needed proof, I needed to remember I saw history happen.

And this morning when I woke up and checked to the news to make sure Obama was still president and this wasn't a dream or a miscount (something my husband teased me about this all day), I completely broke down in both joy and relief and being proud that the majority of voters in this country saw what I saw in this fine candidate and moved towards it.

My husband tried to explain the significance to our daughter when she saw a woman on the television on the ground crying after Obama was announced president. I loved that my daughter didn't understand what the big deal was. I loved that she sees us, a white mother and a Filipino father and thinks this is the norm. I love that in her eyes, she has no idea that there is anything unusual about a black man being elected president, that her crazy mom and dad are making a big deal out of nothing--of course he was elected, he has the better ideas.

And I love that right now, babies are being born and in their world, this is the norm, this is a given. I hadn't really thought about it until Obama was elected. I didn't vote for Obama because of his race, I voted for him because of who he is and what he believes in. I voted for him because I wanted to live in a country where he was the leader, a smart, insightful person with a greater vision for all of us.

Whoopi Goldberg said that today was the first day she felt she could put her suitcase down and I don't think I've heard anyone say it better, she felt for the first time it was her America. And it is. It is her America, and it my daughter's America, and it an America for all of us, and I am so thankful to be able to say I was here to see it and be part of it. I didn't do much, I took the time to draw a line on my ballot and send it in, one person, one vote. But together, all of us flipping a switch or drawing a line, all of us, sixty two million small simple nods to a better world we made a difference.

I still think there is more we need to do, more people we need to accept for who they are, for all of us to be treated equally, no matter what we look like, where we live, or who we love. But this was a step forward. A big step and also a reminder that the smallest of acts can create the largest changes. Yes we can. Yes we will. Yes we did.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh Kelli, I hear you. As an Alaska, I heaved a HUGE sigh of relief, as an American, I was so damn proud, but as a public school teacher, I wept to think of all of my students who will have the chance to see that the presidency is a reachable goal for anyone with good ideas and a good heart.

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