Pardon if my platitudes aren’t particularly unique or polished or perfected. Some things are all feelings.
Not words of true eloquence or coherence. The kinds of spurts, giggles and gurgles, happiness, hope and uncertainties. And that’s how I felt (and sounded) Tuesday night as I watched the election results with my parents. Other than alternating between giddiness and the urge to cry because of the enormity of it all, I was spent. I had nothing left to give. I just let relief wash over me with each electoral college vote counted in Barack Obama’s favor. And it all happened so fast, nothing like 2004 or the month long presidential crisis of 2000. All over with a huge push of everything on Obama’s side.
And as the joke goes, it appeared reality had a leftist slant, leaving John McCain, gracious in defeat while sounding so defeated, with most of the states Huckabee won during the Republican primary and little else. Obama expanded everywhere and into every thing and now we all woke up to a new reality.
When I think how Barack Obama is going to be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States in January I still can’t believe it. When I think about his daughters, Sasha and Malia, and the new dog he promised them, frolicking in the White House, I’m stunned. When I think of Michelle Obama as First Lady, there are no words. Eleven months ago I was skeptical he would even be able to make it out of the gate. Never have I been so happy to be wrong.
I think Barack Obama killed my cynicism. Or at least temporarily stunned it. I don’t know. It’s too early to tell. We’ve all witnessed something we’ve never seen before. Something many of us never thought would happen. This is a Hollywood Ending and as a black person, I don’t usually see too many Hollywood Endings for us on that large a scale. We’ve made inroads and successes in business, sports, entertainment, science, the military, medicine and education. But politics is primarily a local phenomenon. It’s still a big deal when a black person becomes mayor. But president? Of the United States? The way Rev. Jesse Jackson was bawling in Chicago Tuesday night you could tell how hard and faraway that one seemed. Then, for the first time in MY ADULT LIFE, I heard my father declare, “I want to stay up and listen to MY president’s speech.” He’s never claimed a president as his (nor has either of my parents) ever. My mother liked LBJ and Carter and both liked Bill Clinton, but they’ve never referred to either three as “my president.” After a lifetime of voting against candidates, my parents had someone to vote “for” and they got to share in the success.
I’m still numb. I’m still trying to imagine the inaugural ball. Trying to imagine the G-8 Summits. The first speech at the United Nations. The first State of the Union. The first everything. Anything. And all of it with Barack Obama. What will the press coverage be like? How will things change? Easter egg rolls on the White House lawn. Negotiating with North Korea. Dealing with America’s 1001 crises, domestic and international. The symbolism of the what is still the most powerful and sole remaining super power on earth be an African American man when the world knows what it has meant, since 1776, to be black in America. The past and the future are reaching out to shake hands and I’m wondering if the universe is about to collapse in on itself from the audacity of this moment.
All I’ve got is doodles and rambles. Maybe I’ll make more sense come inauguration day. But for now …
No words. I’m just anxiously awaiting Act II where the really hard work (and history) begins. May my verbage make a comeback by then.