Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Aftermath

Believe it or not, my absence today was not because I was in some sort of mourning for the events of last night. While the elections may not have gone the way I voted, I can still respect the historical significance of what happened.

I did, however, think about the ways in which this post would go. I thought about a lot of things that I can’t yet write about here because with emotions still so raw I would be inviting misinterpretations.

I thought about how McCain’s concession speech made me more sure of my choice for President – that he is the epitome of humility, grace and honor. And that even though Oprah chided those “not on the right side of history,” I nonetheless took part in the most historical election in history and made my voice heard.

And yes – to those that commented – I take back my comment that my vote didn’t count – my vote will always count. I was just overwhelmed in the moment with these last few months coming to a head – but I absolutely agree with you.

I thought about how curious (and sad) it was that people were oddly still shit talking McCain and Palin (and families) on Facebook, at the very moment Obama was calling on us as Americans to put aside our differences and unite.

I wondered if we would all be holding hands and swaying to a warm and fuzzy folk song if the election had gone the other way, or if we would instead be hearing screams of racism and voter fraud.

And while I listened to (celebratory?) gun shots go off, I was appreciative, in that moment, that I wouldn’t have to find out the answer to that question.

But – as I mentioned on Comm’s FB page - for all the things I saw and thought, I also saw many McCain and Obama supporters (many of whom I have gone toe-to-toe with) pause and reflect on the impact of last night, and truly take to heart the belief that we are witnessing something huge.

And I can appreciate their Hope. And hope, clearly, is a powerful thing.

And for all the debate in the last few months (and anxiety, and sleepless nights), in my heart of hearts, I truly hope– regardless of who won last night - that for the good of this country, things will start to turn around – not just in terms of the economy, but in terms of how we treat each other, how we see and overcome our perceived obstacles, how we far we push ourselves to dig down and “be better.”

After all, we constantly push ourselves to be better triathletes/runners, and now is our wake up call to be better Americans – keep paying attention, keep challenging, keep asking and expecting MORE of the people we elect.

I know for me personally – my education has just begun. I, like many, started to care this year. I started to rid myself of the belief that “ignorance is bliss.” I wanted to know about things like tax cuts and capital gains – I started to care about the direction of my future.

I hope that Obama's words stick with and inspire people longer than the Grant Park rally, and that if he can run a campaign based on Unity, then we as Americans can behave in ways that represent that.

After all, Obama is one man, and we are a nation of millions. Obama alone can't eradicate racism, he can't eliminate hate, he can't increase ethnic/racial/gender/sexual tolerance.

We, as Americans, can.

So while Obama may sign the bills into laws, we as citizens own the responsibility to "change" ourselves.


stronger said...

Nicely said, Megan.

You have been brave, honest, dilligent and called people on their actions. If ever I needed someone in my corner- I'd vote for you.

the fire said...

Nice job. While I did not watch the McCain speech I heard it in the other room. Unfortunately with all the humility he showed, some of his supporters in the room showed their foolishness. That being said, it is exciting to see and be a part of the process. I was going to comment yesterday and make the point that even bigger to us than our president are the votes we cast for reps, senators, and judges. Too many people get caught up in all the glitz and glamor yet fail to realize which politicians have the greatest impact on our day to day lives. The ones closest to us...nicely written!!!!

Iron Krista, "The Dog Mom" said...

I was looking forward to reading your post on this.

I was so annoyed by everyone's FB status updates yesterday - It really was a day in history, regardless of the outcome and if we were voting that way or not. However, history didn't need to be made by bashing the other side... I finally just had to stay away from my computer.

Again, I love what you wrote!

M said...

Thanks Stronger - and I trust that you know I would do the same. Particularly in Chicago, where we vote "often."

Fire - You make an excellent point about the people (congressmen) that matter too, and I would agree that I forget about this. I would also agree that I was disappointed by the "boos" I heard from the McCain party, but at the same time, I understood the disppointment they must have felt standing there. I also credit McCain supporters nationwide for behaving appropriately overall last night - in fact, if you were here in Chicago, there were multiple interviews with McCain supporters at Grant Park who put their differences in opinion aside to show support and unity.

That made me proud. For as little credit as we get for being "classy," we represented it last night.

M said...

Thanks Krista - I too eventually stepped away from the computer. Today seemed more positive, and again, I honestly hope that people will continue to carry that positivity with them regardless of who runs the country.

Borsch said...

M...You hit that one out of the ball park!

You said pretty much everything I was thinking while talking to my sister this afternoon. She is in a furious state.

Anonymous said...

I'm obviously not an American, but even in li'l ole NZ we have been watching closely, even if at times we don't understand. That was well written Meg, and with our countries elections this weekend, all we can do is hope for a better future too.


21stCenturyMom said...

Well said!

I'm happy to say that I saw no McCain or Palin bashing on FB today. Glad of it, too.

Tri-Angle said...

Pertinent as always Doctor.
I am embarrassed by the way my feloow Arizonans behaved during McCain's speech the other night. Some woman actually called a radio show I was listening to, and said they were booing because they didn't want McCain to concede so early. Such Bullshit.
Even if I don't agree with the outcome, I'm willing to work with the resources I've been given, and if I don't liek it, my vote will count again in 4 years.

M said...

Andy - while you may have a heard a couple boos, Chicago was hearing about potential riots if Obama lost. So I would say that, all told, we handled things a lot better than was expected from the other side. I mean, it was one of the hardest and most unbalenced races in US history, so a little disappointment/resentment was going to happen regardless.

Considering Obama supporters wer hanging Palin mannequins in effigy and calling it "art" before the race was even over, I got no complaints about our behavior.

And like I said, the change has to come from the people that actually elected him, in a lot of ways. I mean, it's one thing to elect the most underqualified man ever to run for President, a man with no leadership expereince and no political acheviement, shower him with unearned accolades, and call him "a global leader" based on no actual evidence (but with the compelte and total help of mass media, overspending and the heels of George Bush) but it's a whole nother thing to actually make change happen.

And that remains to be seen.

Alili said...

"So while Obama may sign the bills into laws, we as citizens own the responsibility to "change" ourselves."

Very well written, Megan.

Prin said...

Oh, Oprah. Oprah once said, "When somebody shows you who they are, listen." And with that, she showed who she is.

I love politics and I'm pretty passionate about it (relatively) and I would never judge a person for voting a different way. I will, however, judge them for not voting at all.

Unfortunately, the people who make total asses of themselves during election time always end up in the media and make the parties, the entire country and process look ridiculous. It sucks.

Captain Cactus said...

You couldn't be more right about who really has to make the change happen. It's wonderful to have a leader full of hope and optimism, but it comes down to each and every person taking action. I hope that it happens. It will be amazing to see what is possible if people start coming together and putting their differences aside.

Of course, the populace in a few states missed a good opportunity to start setting differences aside. I was very disappointed to see that despite all of the "anything is possible" and "equality" discussion going on, a lot of people's rights were actually taken away in California, Arizona and Florida by the intolerance of their neighbours. That's just so sad.

Eric said...

Ah yes.....history WAS made.....but what's all this talk of a black president?

Tuesday night my country elected the first 1/2 Kenyan 1/2 white (English/Irish/German) president. Not that race matters AT ALL :-)