Today is a day well worth coming out of blogger hibernation for. A historic day. Okay, I know that just about every blogger out there will have something to say about Obama's victory, and I'm certainly not going to tell you anything new, but I just had to add my grain of sand to the pile. I usually don't like writing about politics, unless it's to poke fun at silly political parties. But today I'll write something serious, because today is an important day.
Today for the first time in a very, very long time I feel proud to be American. Ooh, feels strange...kind of like wearing new clothes. I'm still not quite sure to do with it.
I've never been especially patriotic, and lately I've often felt ashamed to admit I am American, but I'm hoping that now that might change. For some reason while I was watching the news this morning and I heard Obama had won the election, the words of Neil Armstrong came to my mind. "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." In a way, I think Barack Obama's election is, at the very least, a giant leap for America, and it may well be for the rest of the world too. Nearly everyone remembers where they were when man first set foot on the moon (except of course all of us young-uns who were just babies at the time). I'm sure that twenty or thirty years from now people will say, "Do you remember where you were when Obama was elected?" And we will remember...not just because he was America's first black president, but because he did great things to make the world a better place. At least that's what I hope.
A year ago I wasn't at all sure he would win. I thought America just wasn't ready for an African American to be president, but I was wrong. I hadn't realized just how much America has changed since the last time I was there. I left over 15 years ago, just after the Rodney King riots in L.A., and I remember thinking back then that the race issue would never be solved. And while I'm sure things are far from perfect now, I think that Obama's victory is a major step in the right direction. We're halfway there and we can't stop now. But it's not only about overcoming racism. I think people are asking for change on a much larger scale, and they are looking to Obama to bing it.
Will he live up to people's expectations?
Well, only time will tell; but he is charismatic, he seems to be sincere, and he has some pretty clear ideas about where he wants to go in this presidency. Call me a bleeding-heart liberal if you want, but I think he's right about the social change that America needs. I'm sure there are people out there who are thowing their hands in the air in horror and exclaming, "He'll raise taxes! He'll take the troops out of Iraq! He'll turn America into a socialist country!" But I think a good part of the population believes in him, even if they don't agree with all of his ideas, and I think he has a pretty good chance of doing some good things for America. And since what affects America, affects the rest of the world, I'm betting those changes will have a positive effect on the rest of us too.
I also have to say that McCain added to my newly found pride too. His gracious speech after learning that Obama had won surprised me. By asking his supporters to stand behind the new President he has also taken a great step for democracy, one that I hope will serve as a lesson for politicians in other countries (and, yes, I am pointing my finger at Zapatero and Rajoy, among others...come on guys, get your acts together already).
So, Obama, now it all depends on you. We have a dream...will you help us make it come true?