Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One Small Step for Man...

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?


  1. Yes, this is an exciting moment. I'm a bit in awe of it all, myself. Especially the fact that he was able to galvanize so many people, people who had maybe never voted before, or felt they had a voice, -- not only to get them to the polls, but to get his supporters to leave no stone unturned, to make such a massive effort on his behalf.

    The truly amazing and historic thing will be, I hope, if all of those people don't just sit back and think that their part is done now, but instead harness that energy to take back the real power of democracy, to really work together to have an impact and make the country better. Because it's going to take a lot more than one man, even a man like Obama, who seems to be pretty extraordinary.

    On another note, just as I was bummed to be in the US for Spain's big soccer win in the Copa de Europa this year, I was also bummed not to be in the US to celebrate this win!

  2. Theresa, I'm totally with you!!!! If anybody can bring change Obama can, what a great speech he had.I'm so excited about it all and I hope with you that he can make true what he says and hopes for.Today you are proud to be an American and I'm proud to have lived there so long. I know exactly how you feel! Boy who would have ever thought that this could happen.I couldn't vote, so I'm glad you did and through you I have the feeling that I had some part in it!

  3. I share your sentiment entirely. Especially about not using "an" with "historic". And your Spanish spelling of Iraq is cute, too. ;-)

    ¡Viva Obama!

  4. kate: It really is exciting, and I have high hopes, but we'll have to wait and see what happens. You're right about people not just sitting back and thinking it's all done now. Obama has a lot of work to do and he's going to need all the help he can get. In any case, it's time to celebrate no matter where we are. :)

    mem: I think I haven't been proud to be an American since I was a kid, and even then I wasn't so much. But today I am, and I hope this will be a turning point in history.

    erik: Always catching me out on my mistakes. ;) What would my blog be without you? Does anybody actually say "an historic moment"? Irak? Oh, I have been here too long. Okay, fixed if only that were true for more than just the spelling. :)

  5. Thank you for poking your head up to say this. I'm with you 100% on everything you said. I also think he is the best thing that has happened to the US in decades and is truly the inspiration our country needs to get us out of this funk we are in. I went to bed with a huge smile on my face last night and am walking a little taller today. :-)

  6. Many, many many people in the media say "an historic". I hate it. It's inconsistent. They don't say "an history", but somehow the adjective requires special treatment. Stupid stupid stupid.

    Glad I can help. :-)

  7. I couldn't have said it better myself, bud. I am so happy to finally have a president I can respect and trust. After the last eight years, it's wonderful to have HOPE again. I think the country has been going in the wrong direction for some time now and it's time we start acting like the real America, a land "of liberty and justice for ALL".

  8. Yes, yes, yes. So completely yes.

    My first thought was, "Now I can stop being embarrassed about my country. I'm going to have to retrain myself."

    It's a beautiful day. Week. Month. Four years.

  9. I'm not really sure that something will change cardinally with the appearance of this person. Still there will be something that makes him different from others.

  10. i was definitely heartened by the gracious speeches both candidates gave when the results were clear. it restores a bit of hope.

  11. jeff: I just couldn't help but say something. What's a blog for if you cant' say what you really feel sometimes? I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. :)

    erik: Well, according to this I think we can consider ourselves right: "A quick bit of Googling reveals that — as of March 2008 — the phrase 'a historic' is used on 5.1 million pages (68%), and 'an historic' on 2.34 million pages (32%)." And we all know that Google is always right, don't we. ;)

    nooter: Do you have a cold? ;)

    fionacat: You said it, we all could do with some hope. :)

    jocelyn: It is a beautiful day, month, and I hope four years...or even better, eight. :)

    jessicaper: Only time will tell, but at least he seems to show that racism is much less an issue than ever before, and that's something.

    lime: Their speeches were both great. I think McCain really did the right thing by standing behind the results, rather than trying to dispute them. Although, with those numbers they would be pretty hard to dispute anyway. Here's to hope all around!

  12. Hello

    You shall be proud and that is going for every American...We are many in Sweden and Europa and the rest of the world who have follow this drama.USA could not done a better choice...I wonder if you know how much this collection really means for Europe and the rest of the world?

    Congratulate and may every single human and living keep him alive and support him.

  13. I totally feel the same way. I guess when you live out of the country for awhile you appreciate your home country, but you also see it through others eyes and so often it isn't pretty. It was nice to be a proud American for the first time in a long time. I do tend to get sad when I think about how long it has taken for this to happen, and when I still hear hatred coming out of people because of the color of Obama's skin. So I am proud to be an American, but we still have a LONG way to go.

  14. It was a great day, wasn't it? I'm still high.