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.