Look All Around There's Nothing But Blue Skies
I was born exactly one week prior to the 1960 election, so of course I was far too young to have had even an inkling of the kind of enthusiasm that moment generated, and the spirit of hope and confidence that was its result.
But, I feel like last night, surrounded by crying, hugging, cheering, drunk-off-our-collective-asses friends, and standing in the middle of the spontaneous eruption of sheer joy that took over the middle of Broadway & E Pike last night, this must be what it felt like for the generation of Boomers who lived through that unforgettable moment in our nation's history.
Something has fundamentally changed within the collective consciousness of our nation, something that, while it may be resisted by some, can never be turned back. Racism may still exist in this country, but despite that we can still elect a Black Man for President. There will still be conflicts between generations, but for the first time in MY life at least, I had the privilege of voting for a Presidential Candidate who is YOUNGER than myself. Conservatives and liberals may still be at-odds in terms of how we view our country, and the path we wish it to follow for the next four-to-eight years, but WE chose that path in a demonstration for all the world to view with awe and wonder, that despite the deep divisions that exist between individual Americans, our people can still exercise the right to chose our own destiny - for good or ill.
McCain gave a moving concession speech in Arizona last evening, so much so that at one point I leaned over to a friend and said, "if he'd spoken like this over the past several months, he might actually have had a shot at this thing!" It was a call to Republicans, conservatives, and to the Religious Right to accept the loss, to move on, and to commit to working WITH the new leadership for the betterment of all. I have no doubt many on that side will fail to heed his words; there's too much animosity, too much hate, too much lingering mistrust and fear of The Other for many of them to be able to come to grips with the New Reality.
But, many will mark what was said, by both McCain, and later by President-Elect Obama (don't those words just send shivers of delight up your spine?) that WE ALL have to do this TOGETHER if we're going to achieve anything useful, lasting, and worthy of our history, heritage, and potential. WE ALL have to learn to be better Americans - first and foremost to each other. And I can only hope enough of us can set aside our differences, work for our common good, and fulfill the promise of what it truly means to be an American in the 21st Century.
Labels: 2008 election
on 10:28 AM