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03 November 2008

We're on the eve of (crosses fingers) electing the first black President in this country's history. This does a lot for my faith in this country. I also find myself thinking of older black people I've met, people who've endured things I can't even imagine, and how gratifying it will be for them, so tonight I'm listening to Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions. I wish he'd lived to see it.
Aw, jon, you've got me all teary-eyed. I wish he could have lived to see the day, too. Move on up!
posted by scody 03 November | 18:58
Nice jonmc, nice.
posted by -t 03 November | 18:59
Thank you. and I'd vote for Barack if he was polka-dotted. But the fact that he is a black man must make this upcoming victory pretty sweet for a lot of people, including myself.

And I sincerely believe that he will win tommorrow. (and the big reason for that is Sarah Palin. I'll bet you that lots of people who were leaning McCainward got a load of her and said "No thanks.")
posted by jonmc 03 November | 19:10
For right now, I'm just hoping *WE* live to see the day!!!!!
posted by scarabic 03 November | 19:11
I wish he could have lived to see the day, too.

WTF? James Brown is dead??
posted by Meatbomb 03 November | 19:11
At work the other day, in the dollar bin, we got an anthology of Wee Pals, a late sixties comic strip about a multi-cultural bunch of kids in an urban nieghborhood. If it was released these days, it'd probably be ridiculed from both the right and left as hopelessly naive, but when I read it, along with a lot of chuckles, I felt my idealism surface a bit. The 'hopeless naivete' of that kind of thinking may just be paying off.
posted by jonmc 03 November | 19:17
Someone here posted this(I think it was here): "Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama ran so our children could fly." I think that's such a beautiful and profound statement. I also was thinking about elderly/older black Americans and how proud they must be. I was reminiscing about the fact that I grew up in a racially diverse neighborhood, with a black best friend for all of my childhood, and I guess the hugeness of even Obama's running doesn't faze me. I think it's great, but perhaps I should reflect on the historical ramifications to realize just how amazing this is. Maybe I'll feel more overwhelmed when we elect the first female president, I don't know. Don't get me wrong, I think it's cool. I just don't think I appreciate it as deeply as I should.
posted by redvixen 03 November | 19:49
I'm reminded of this article.

Also, a girl I work with got me crying the other day. She's black, and said Obama has meant the world to her since "now when I tell my boy he can grow up to be anything he believes me." And there we were, crying in the checkout line of the employee cafeteria like a couple saps.
posted by kellydamnit 03 November | 19:59
also, Obama has the endorsement of both these men (I have it straight from the horse's mouth):
≡ Click to see image ≡
≡ Click to see image ≡

What more do you need to know?
posted by jonmc 03 November | 20:09
My students scrawled VOTE OBAMA graffiti on the blackboard at the beginning of class today. I teach in the Bronx, and it means the world to them, too.

As for me, it's enough to make a die-hard atheist pray.
posted by Pips 03 November | 20:16
I've been canvasing in mostly black neighborhoods for the last two months and the level of involvement and investment in the election is amazing. People that I talk to keep asking me, "can he really do do it?" There's this combination of amazement and disbelief that this country can't really be electing a black man to president.
posted by octothorpe 03 November | 20:39
As for me, it's enough to make a die-hard atheist pray.

I'll second that emotion, pips!
posted by scody 03 November | 20:40
I'm praying, everyone I know who prays is praying. I'm getting choked up over "Cats for Obama." Tomorrow could literally change the world.
posted by Twiggy 03 November | 21:48
Dude, I only wish Barack's own grandmother could have lived to see him be President. She died today.
posted by Lipstick Thespian 03 November | 22:11
Barack will close the deal. And boy do I hope he has some coat tails.
posted by Doohickie 03 November | 23:16
I was reminiscing about the fact that I grew up in a racially diverse neighborhood, with a black best friend for all of my childhood, and I guess the hugeness of even Obama's running doesn't faze me.

Maybe it's because I grew up in that same environment as you, rv, but I know what you mean. It wasn't so odd to me to see black people in leadership and authority and to know about the 'greats' and 'firsts' in history, because I was lucky enough to grow up in a racially and ethnically diverse area. But since I've moved around the country as an adult, and realized how faraway and sheltered a lot of people are from black communities, it's not hard to see why it is still a big deal. There are many white people whose idea of what 'black' is comes mainly from television. And there has always been this sense that the U.S. could never overcome its history of racism enough to see a black person as a leader for all of us.

I share jonmc's feeling that I'd vote for this man if he were polka-dotted, striped, paisley, or whatever. He's a truly excellent candidate and will make a very fine leader. But there is something wonderfully hopeful and proud about ...well, wow, someone on the radio just said it would be evidence that "we live in a nation that is as good as its promise." There are a lot of people whose ethnicity has marginalized them - they looked at most leaders and saw no one like themselves who knew what their lives were like and shared their concerns. It means something to have someone in leadership who has done some deep thinking and had some real personal experience with race, class, and different-ness. His example has brought so many people into the process that never thought they had a real, meaningful stake in this country before.

Thanks for the post, jonmc.
posted by Miko 03 November | 23:44
[Warning: this is will be pessimistic and reflective of my current mood and outlook. Forgive me, the usual chipper and cheery Frisbee is sad and sickened and yet to be convinced that victory is nigh.]

redvixen, I hear you and it has caused me a deep sense of conflict for many months. On a census sheet, I'd get to tick off African American, Caucasian and American Indian; and, in case anyone hadn't been checking, also female.

My mother was a poor, single, teenage runaway, with a proclivity for substances who had the bad sense to become deeply and lengthily involved with my father...a very, very married black man. In 1968. Not a great year for such activities. I, however, had the luck of her good sense to surround me with many highly educated and intelligent people who constantly encouraged my intellectual and psychological growth.

People of many races and sexual preferences/gender identifications/lifestyle choices - however you want to put it - actively formed my 'worldview'. People who not only expected me to be as smart and strong and *-blind to everything but a person's character and capability as I could, but who demonstrated those qualities in a way that made said social habits unquestionably real and non-negotiable. My father included. Thus establishing a bar for my outlook and expectations of the world at large.

'No' because I was a girl was not an option. 'No' because I was an underprivileged latchkey kid was not an option. 'No' because I was of mixed descent was not an option. I was constantly reminded that someone else had and was proving 'no' wrong, so why not me...or him over there...or her over there? 'No' was introduced to me as an invitation to prove a naysayer wrong, not as proclamation to passively accept. Or as one sporting goods giant ad campaign recently stated, "Impossible is Nothing".

Where and when I grew up, we were taught to believe that we didn't need to accept a diminished capacity of being, and, to this day, I have no idea how or why I would want to accept a diminished capacity. Not for myself, and with equal resistance, not for others.

I don't say this cast myself in a special light, only to give background to the frustration and confusion I've been filled with for months. There have been and will continue to be breakthroughs and causes for celebration, but there's also a tragedy inside this triumph which is this: that as 'the leader of the free world', it has taken us this very long to reach this point while much of the world scratches their head in wonder at the length of our journey. Or worse yet, if we can simply manage to hold it together.

That it [this debate and resistance toward acknowledgment of basic human rights and personal identity, capacity in office, profession or choice] remains a serious point of debate, hurts. It makes me whither a bit inside. More than a bit, truth be told.

*If* Obama is elected, I think there will be a good deal of applause from other countries, but it's difficult for me to feel that this will be much more than a golf clap with the approving but awkward and impatient throat clearing that says, "It's about f*cking time. We've been running in place for years, we'd begun to think you'd NEVER catch up!"

I also want to make it clear that I'm not belittling the efforts of each and every person who has worked to make what we've watched unfold on an historical basis become a reality. I'm more surprised and confounded that it's something that we still apparently need to "work through". It's still an issue. In many ways, I simply fail to understand why, and, in many ways, find this the tragedy: that I thought we were or understood that we long have had every reason to move on and recognize gender, race, sexual orientation and procreativity passing points of conversation. In short, our 'national dialogue' on almost every level has left me deeply embarrassed and profoundly disappointed.
posted by Frisbee Girl 03 November | 23:47
I won't believe it till I see it, either. I just took a Xanax. And a half. Because it's one hour into election day and I'm terrified and need to go to sleep.
posted by rainbaby 04 November | 00:53
it has taken us this very long to reach this point while much of the world scratches their head in wonder at the length of our journey.

We started much farther back from the finish line, race-relations-wise, than most other Western countries. Our history of racial struggle and oppression is unique in its severity and duration. And I see very few other other Western democracies who have elected leaders who are not members of the cultural majority.
posted by Miko 04 November | 08:27
Yep Miko, all those countries that have never elected an African-American sure look silly now.
posted by cillit bang 04 November | 09:09
Paging Doohickie: || David Byrne sent me an email!