I am still processing the last 48 hours.
When I got home last night, I laid down, and fell asleep on and off for about 90 minutes as my husband anxiously watched the returns. I informed him that the decision would not be drawn out, rather, the people were clear and this election would be swift when the returns came in, no questions. We, the people were going to be very decisive about our next president, Barack Obama.
Around 10:30, I woke up with a start.
Shortly thereafter, the new president elect was announced. I cannot find the words to describe the feelings and emotions that I am experiencing in all of this. I received an email from a friend in Albany who told me I was wrong. She was referring to a conversation we had in 1998 in which she insisted that a Black man would be president before a White woman, I insisted the opposite. I told her I was happily incorrect in this case.
And yet, as I look at what has been achieved, as I look at this accomplishment, one thing is for certain, to me. My generation of young Blacks and Latinos no longer have the crutch that they sometimes cling to at times. “Da man”, while he does still exists and presents challenges to us, Obama is proof positive that perseverance can overcome obstacles, given the right support, given the right time, given the right circumstances.
We now are being called to the mat to set an example of achievement, of producing results and outcomes that support rather than detract from our communities. Because the reality is that we are not saddled with the baggage of living in a Jim Crow America. We did not have to experience physical bondage. The America of George Wallace and legal barriers do not represent today’s America. We know we can be whatever it is that we wish to achieve IF we are willing to work and struggle and remain focused. We must put in the work to make it happen. The days of claiming can’t due to racism is no longer an acceptable. We have to own our successes and failures. We have a responsibility to ourselves, our ancestors, and our children to get past the ignorance of some and ensure we reach our end goals for the many. It is what was done for us. Last night, we smashed one of the hardest glass ceilings that could be smashed in this country. It was done with the blood, sweat, tears, sacrifices, and struggles of those who came before us and those who come with us. It was done in a collective manner, hand in hand, with multicultural and multiracial support. We have to now honor this legacy by being true to who we are as a people, all human beings. While we are in some measure, representatives of our cultural and racial collective, the fact is that we form into a whole country, America.
I am humbled by the work that people put in, all people put in to make Senator Obama into President-elect Obama. The real work starts now, it will be imperfect as we all are, it will require the collaborative spirit and energy to push this agenda forward. But today, as I wake up, I am more hopeful than I was 2 years ago. I watch Obama and he makes me want to be and do better in my commitment to faith and community.
Today, the sun rose on America and it was beautiful.