I'm still, like many of us, reflecting on the Obama victory. It's one of THOSE nights, one of the "Where were you when........?" moments for which you will never, ever forget the answer.
I was snuggled into a comfy couch in a crowded little living room with a dozen or more adults - some were close friends and others I had just met. Chicken and dumplings simmered on the stove, dark green split peas and potato chips graced the kitchen table. Strider had promised to streak if Obama won, and I had promised to take off my head scarf. The children, four girls and five boys all between the ages of seven and eleven, vacillated between running around, playing in the garage, watching the states turn red and blue, and making up an Obama song to be performed for us later from the stage set up in the garage.
When the MSNBC livestreaming became too ADD, we switched to the BBC. When the BBC became to droll, we switched to MSNBC. When the pundits kept talking over the Star-Spangled Banner, we changed to something else.
The moment the polls closed on the West Coast, and California, Washington, and Oregon began blinking blue, you could feel the air become lighter, the haze lift, and that indescribable hope/doubt questioning moment: Is this really going to happen? You mean the Republicans aren't going to steal it? Do we dare believe?
Yes, it was. Not, they weren't. Yes, we can.
There was much hugging and high-fiving and tears flowing. A flood of relief and joy. The children exited out the front door into the streets and we followed, hooting and hollering. A neighbor brought out sparklers for the kids. Luckily, they were so preoccupied with the fireworks that they missed the naked man in his boots running up and down the darkened street. And yes, I took off my headscarf, and shared my beautifully-shaped, clean-shaven head with the crowd. It was good to be with people on this night.
McCain's speech was genuine and gracious.
Obama's speech....... well, yeah, you saw it. Damn!
Things will never change. I cannot change them. Revolutions and their leaders come and go. Only hearts can be changed.
But I guess that's what I see happening. It's not so much a political victory as it is a spiritual one.
I don't have faith in Obama to fix any kind of a broken system..... he can't and he won't. But I do have faith in him to inspire people to be maybe just a tad bit better and more involved in the process than they were before. Before you can make your voice heard, you have to believe that it will be heard. We, the people, must hold his (and the rest of the Dems) feet to the fire. The difference is that now, many more people believe that that is possible. Will it happen? I don't know. But I have to believe that it will. If it does, then we truly will have a "chance for us to make that change". But if we drift off into complacency, the fault for what comes will be ours as well as his.
Perfection in our leaders doesn't exist. Never has, never will. Those who hold out for it will always be disappointed. The populace needs something to believe in, something that inspires them to believe in themselves. We cannot treat this man, Barack Obama, as an idol or the new messiah, lest we neglect our own duties, our own responsibilities.
Something tells me I don't think he will forget to remind us of them.
Before closing the boys' door, at nearly 11 PM (They had NEVER stayed up that late on a school night before!), I looked at them all drowsy and worn-out and snuggled in, and I said softly, "You will remember this night for the rest of your lives."
I wonder what their version of it will sound like, 10 or 20 years down the road.
Where were YOU on the night of November 4th, 2008?