Thursday, November 06, 2008

Time Has Little To Do With Infinity And Jelly Doughnuts

I have been watching a few short segments about the election results and have had one or two interesting conversations in the past couple of days about it. I think my sister is right, there is a lot of ignorance (and misunderstanding and confusion and...) about this whole thing.

I was talking to someone this afternoon who was very obviously a staunch republican and doesn't care who knows it. She was proud that every county in Oklahoma voted in favor of McCain AND that Oklahoma overall had the highest percentage of votes for McCain of any state in the nation. I believe they called Oklahoma at 7:01pm central.

Anyway, I was trying to point out to her that I found it interesting that Wednesday morning saw almost every news outlet saying the United States had elected its first African-American president and this morning (Thursday) several of them had changed to referring to the first black president. I didn't even get through the first half of my observation before she started in on "If McCain had won, would they be saying we'd elected another white president?" I don't know... maybe... I think they'd be more focused on the first female vice president. But do you think maybe she's a little bitter that Obama won?

But I see it all differently. It really isn't about race, even though that's the catalyst of it all. I grew up attending magnet schools. What that means is that the Middle/Junior High school and High school I attended pulled students from all districts across the city and from a WIDE variety of racial backgrounds. I have an understanding, weak as it may be from my middle-class white perspective, that it isn't that Barack Obama is black. It is that black peolpe, as a race, have been persecuted, prosecuted, and beat down for so long in this country that the election of an African-American to the position of President of the United States is a symbol that some of those wounds are starting to heal. Barack Obama is a symbol that we can put aside our prejudices, that we can come together to support a person for who he is and not for what he looks like, and that we can remember the past but move beyond it.

This election was destined to be bigger than any one man or any one woman no matter who won the election. As Barack Obama was introduced for his victory speech, I could see in his eyes that he knew this. Not that he merely realized it but that he knew in his soul the basic truth of it.

I have high hopes for our new president-elect. I think it is time for our country to be led by someone who has a different view that looks beyond the way it has always been done and sees the way it should be done. No, he's not perfect. I am 100% positive that I will not agree with 100% of his policies and politics. But I welcome his perspective.

As another blogger put it, "I'm energized. I'm excited. And I'm terrified. So much can go right and so much can go wrong. But finally there is a new direction."

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