Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Good Afternoon, Mr Precedent.


My lovely wife wakes up this morning a full hour before the alarm with tears of joy in her eyes and optimism about facing the challenges of the day ahead. Trust me, this is highly unusual weekday behavior. By mutual agreement, we usually interact as little as possible before her morning cup of coffee. It's too dangerous and the potential for serious injury too great.

This morning is different. We talk about the election, John McCain's concession, Barack Obama's victory lap and the issues still undecided as of 5:30am PST. Seeing my wife renewed as she is this morning, I realize today is the first real day of the 21st Century.

For better or worse, what we remember as The Sixties started on November 22, 1963. The 21st Century had its defining jump-off point yesterday. We as a nation threw off the cloak of fear left over from the last century and today bask in the warmth of hope for the future.

There are many reasons why Barack Obama is the President-elect. First and foremost is the man himself. Though he possesses a fine intellect, he is smart enough to know he doesn't know everything. Last night, he even asked for our help. The man is a consensus builder. He will raise the level of political discourse in this country for sure. Through cheap shot after cheap shot, he remained even keeled and unflappable during the campaign.

It's also nice to have a president finally who can speak. The English language is not an obstacle course for Barack Obama. Most importantly, he pronounces the word "nuclear" correctly. After hearing Sarah Palin, I don't think the American public could stand another four years of nu-cu-ler.

Future historians will point to the youth or the rising power of Black and Latino voters in this election. They'll point to age being a greater concern than race. Someone will mention the Democrats' excellent campaign strategy or their ability to forecast accurately the mood of the country.

Three main agents responsible for this Election Day tidal wave will not receive any credit. Barack Obama could not win this election by himself. He could not win if every African-American and Latino in this country voted twice.

Give some credit to two generations of Moms and Dads teaching their children to look past the color of a person's skin and into their hearts and minds. These people ignored the well-burnished prejudices of their forebears. Instead, they support and applaud the excellence of their darker skinned teammates, schoolmates, neighbors, class presidents, business partners, Aldermen, Mayors, Congressmen, Senators, Cabinet members and, yes, cherished friends and family members. They pass those traits to their kids.

The products of such an upbringing voted yesterday along with their parents in record numbers. Therefore, the man with vision and ideas won, regardless of skin color or age.

Give credit also to the religious Right. Over the last three decades, they prey upon their constituents' fears, make tolerance a sin, publicly slander two decorated war heroes with lies and innuendo and tell us 9/11 is God's retribution for homosexuality and liberalism. They attempt to destroy a war hero's reputation with outright lies perpetrated by disgruntled frauds who accept money and favors for lying. They do this because their own candidate has no heroic qualities, a less-than-stellar public service record and affects a Texas accent even though he was born in Connecticut.

In this election, The religious Right decides they like one of the war heroes they slandered previously, replace his ideas with theirs, then pimp him as the "traditional family values" candidate, even though the candidate cheated on his first wife while she recuperated from a crippling car accident. They do this because this candidate's opponent is a devoted church-going family man with a lovely wife and two beautiful daughters. Meanwhile, they point to the man's name and float lies about his religious affiliation to the more clueless in their flock. When they find out Obama is Christian, they savage his crazy pastor, all the while forgetting about their own crackpots spewing their own brand of hate, intolerance and vitriol.

Twenty-eight years ago, Ronald Reagan opens the door and welcomes the religious Right to the table. Since then, they hog more than their fair share and leave their dirty laundry all over the house. They forget the whole basis of their religion is a tablet upon which is written, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." The religious Right defeated by Karma, of all things. Revel in the irony.

Finally, let us remember countless nameless people of color who gave their lives unwillingly for this day. The images of their lifeless forms hanging from trees, or attacked by dogs, or dragged away from a lunch counter, or beaten senseless by corrupt law enforcement, or knocked over with fire hoses, or bombed during Sunday School, or spat upon while trying to educate themselves are burned in our collective consciousness. As a white man, I may not know exactly what I want this country to represent. However, I am certain about what I don't want this country to represent.

Happy 21st Century, America. You taught us right, Ma. Got a lot of work to do. Let's get going.....

4 comments:

Randy said...

Beautiful piece. It is, indeed, a beautiful day.

Laurel said...

I am really enjoying reading this, not just because we agree politically, but because your writing is wonderful. Keep it up! Our side may have won, but we're still going to have to suffer the indignity of this horrible economy!

Anonymous said...

Here, here! Well said. Let the century begin (better late than never).

Rach said...

Woo!!! Life just feels... better now.