Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Yes we can!
I just got home from listening to President Elect Barack Obama speak in Grant Park (I was in that crowd somewhere). It was really an amazing experience to be present at such a ground-breaking historical moment. Now I am not one to wax poetic about America or about so-called 'change.' I hope Obama does change America but I tend to believe that our two party political system is really a false binary. Candidates each pick a side on a partisan issue and we all pick our side and forget the myriad other sides and issues that aren't even being considered. I take major issue with American politics. I think that the system is inherently flawed and without radical deconstruction we will never have gender or racial or religious or economic equality.
All of that being said, I was moved to tears tonight when I was amongst a very large group of black people when it was announced that Barack Obama would be our next president. It is truly remarkable to think about the legacy of this country, the economic and political systems that were built on the backs of enslaved peoples. I cannot even imagine how it must feel to know that your family did build this country only to be incredibly marginalized by its systems of power and to now see an amazing black man elected to its highest office.
When I was seventeen years old I worked so hard on Al Gore's campaign. I remember staying up that election night until 4 a.m. waiting for the poll results that never came. Months later Gore was still fighting. That experience of working so hard only to have a stolen election was devastating. Then in 2004 I thought for sure we had had enough, I couldn't believe when Bush won the re-election. Those campaigns really took a lot out of me and that has a lot to do with why this is my first overtly political post about this particular election on this blog.
One of my favorite moments of Obama's speech was when he said: "The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there." This was an amazing victory but it is just the first step. Obama has a lot of healing work ahead of him and tonight really demonstrated to me that he is an excellent person for the job.