Friday, November 7, 2008

Breathing Easier - Thoughts on the Election

I rather doubt my ability to express the joy, the sense of peacefulness and safety, the pride that I have in being an American right now at this transformative moment in time. All the words have already been used by pundits around the world but one gal, interviewed in Grant Park the other night, said she felt as if "the weight of the world had been lifted off her shoulders." That about says it. Poor Barack. Talk about high expectations!

My friend Maria says that she walks around with her head held higher. I swear that when Don and I went for our walk yesterday, people were friendlier to us. It might be my imagination but, somehow, I think not. I watch our customers come into the library and imagine how proud half of them feel. A couple from England asked me if I could get them some Obama memorabilia for their daughter in London. Phone calls and emails have been coming in from friends and realtives from Washington state, to Arizona to Ohio and Massachusetts. At 11pm Tuesday evening Don poured 2 flutes of champagne. My sister called from Massachusetts crying. He poured a third glass and we toasted long distance.

I think the most poignant moment might have been on Sunday. We were in Ft. Lauderdale where my stepmother Edith was breathing her final breaths under the loving watch of her 2 daughters and the Hospice nurse. We took turns reading over the obituary for final changes and decided to add that Edith, a life-long, ardent Democrat, though initially a Hillary supporter, had cast her final absentee ballot for Barack Obama a few days before slipping out of consciousness.

In terms of race relations in our country, I'm sure it goes without saying that this is probably one of the most significant events of my lifetime. NBC did a particularly excellent job of reminding us that it wasn't so long ago that dogs and fire hoses were set upon black citizens who tried to vote in the South. Can it really be that that was actually in the '60's? I read that a relative of Emmett Till's was in the audience in Grant Park. Can you even imagine what was going through her mind? I doubt it.
That said, I'll be so overjoyed when we can look at Barack Obama and see him, not as an African American man, but simply as an American man, who ran for and won the presidential election in 2008.

More about books next post. I've got lots to talk about.

No comments: