My heart has been so full that words have failed me, which is saying quite a lot for someone known to be quite opinionated. It has in fact, taken me this long to get my thoughts together, to the point where I can attempt to write something coherent. The week has been surreal, spiritual, inspirational and overwhelming, as I have absorbed the enormity of Barack Obama sweeping into office on the hopes, prayers and collective exhale of a people who refused to be denied for one more day.
One could almost hear the crackling and crumbling of some old long established social edifices, carefully constructed over the past 8 years and designed to rob people of their dignity. For 8 years we cautiously challenged, questioned and voiced discontent under our breath, for fear of being spied on, vilified, rendered or labeled unpatriotic through rumors and innuendos. When Senator Obama in his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention declared firmly “Enough!” My blood surged, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I too felt feisty. After all what had I done to deserve this feeling of disenfranchisement in a country that I have given the better part of my life to. Enough!
So I went out and registered voters and attended meetings and talked to neighbors and challenged those who would have me believe that voting for Senator Obama was somehow passing the mantle of power on to the shoulders of a faithless someone, who would lead us all down the path to destruction; as if somehow the madness of the past 8 years had been some idyllic sojourn in a far away and undisturbed nirvana. Beg your pardon, not when I was paying $40 to put half a tank of gas in my Honda. Enough!
On November 4th, 2008 America came of age. Fundamentalists and Liberals both of whom had negated the ability of the common man to think for himself and who tend to paint with a wide brush of generalization, have learned a hard lesson, that there is no monolithic voting block and since we never had a chance to check their credentials, we really couldn’t care less for their expert advice or analysis. The time had come for those who once held sway to learn a few lessons, that people are as diverse as their own life experiences and as the vote in California clearly showed, are able to dissect the issues and vote for what they feel is important to their lives and against the rest.
And while the pundits tried to contain their cool exterior as the election approached, their growing sense that something incredible was unfolding in front of their eyes was palpable. When the day arrived it left the Republicans stunned and questioning their long held tenets, in an attempt to try to make sense of the tsunami that rolled over them. Enough! Church going people who had once clung to the Republican party as the “party of God” now openly questioned the hypocrisy of the “do as I say, but not as I do” theology and finally started asking the hard questions about how a party that purports to represent the will of God, could be so callous in its treatment of the poor. Why is it that when we work hard and complain when our money buys less and less, all of a sudden we are a “nation of whiners.” Why the faces of the crowds at their rallies did not represent the reality of the diversity in the United States and why if they lay claim to being the earthly representatives for the Prince of Peace, can they also be in bed with the National Rifle Association and other extremist groups that so readily identify with their mandates.
In short we looked at all the rhetoric and none of it added up, not Joe the Plumber, not the Pit-bull with lipstick, not the tired old lines, and not the “he wants to spread our wealth around” argument made any sense, even as we looked at our own resources and wondered what wealth he was talking about. And so we voted collectively, for an imperfect man who looked like us and empathized with us, and said things that made sense.
On the most basic levels, we understood what Senator Obama meant when he spoke, even if the media, always anxious for some sensational story, didn’t. We voted for him because while he was like us, he was so much smarter than us, so we made him our champion and on January 20th, 2009 the transformation will be complete. And if prayers and goodwill still go up to God as a sweet smelling savor, then Senator Obama as he assumes the mantle of power to work on our behalf, will be in good stead because I am sure the blessings will come down on him.