Friday, November 7, 2008

My Thoughts on the Last Few Days

WARNING:  This post contains political thoughts and long melodramatic ramblings.  Read at your own risk.

I have thought a lot over the last few days what, if anything, I should post here about the presidential election.  I have finally come to the conclusion however, that I have to post something.  This is something that is important to me, is a big part of who I am, and whether I can say what I want to say as eloquently as I like, or manage to keep my blog completely free of controversy is not important, it is just important that I say something.

Politically, Tuesday night was exciting for me.  Being a Democrat in an incredibly red state, political victories are rare.   The last two presidential elections (and the only two I have been able to vote in and really cared about) have been difficult for me.  I have gone to bed election night full of fear, doubt, and uncertainty, honestly feeling like America had made the wrong choice (so trust me, I understand how many of you are feeling now.)  It was nice for once, to be able to go to bed on election night, full of hope, with a smile on my face.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think that Obama is going to immediately solve all our problems and change the world overnight.   He has long road ahead of him and a lot of challenges to face, but at least, I feel, we are moving in a positive direction.

But, over the last couple of days, my thoughts have not really dwelled on a political victory, but instead, on something I think is much more profound and important.  Tuesday truly was a historical day and I think, I hope, that regardless of our political differences, regardless of our personal opinions about Obama as an individual, or whether or not he is the best thing for the country, we can all agree about the greatness of America, the greatness of our political process, and can share in the pride of how far we have come.

I have never really known an America where people were judged only by the color of their skin and not by the content of their character.   I have never known an America where whether or not a person could eat at a certain restaurant, live in a certain area, even sit in a certain seat on a bus, was based solely on the amount of pigment in their skin.  But yet, even though I have not lived in that America, I have still lived in an America where race does impact life experiences, racism does exist, and I honestly didn't think for most of my life that I would ever see a black President of the United States.  It is amazing to me that it really wasn't that long ago that America was a very different place.  It was only 53 years ago that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, 45 years ago that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed to the world that he had a dream, and only 40 years ago that he was killed for fighting for that dream.  I watched an interview with Rep. John Lewis, a man who was a hero of the Civil Rights movement, who marched side by side with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and as he spoke of the election, he could hardly find words.  He was so overcome with the emotion of what had happened.  He spoke of how hard they had worked just so black people could vote in the South and now he was seeing something that he had only dreamed about.  I personally didn't know that America before and during the Civil Rights movement, so I don't think I really appreciate how huge this really is, but I am still amazed and proud that we have come so far.

As a mother of two amazing children, I think Tuesday night had even more significance to me.  To me, the world is a different place now than it was before Tuesday.  The fact that now, as Zoe grows up and experiences this world, she will know that she can do anything.  When I tell her that she can accomplish anything she wants and can be anything she wants to be, I won't have to wonder if her race or her gender are going to stand in her way.  This election has shown us that in America, she can do anything.  That doesn't mean it is going to be easy, or that she won't face obstacles.  We still have a long way to go and she may have to work harder than others to get to where she wants to be.  But a lot of barriers were broken down in this election, by both parties, and the world is a better place because of it.  Today, I am so thankful for the lessons both my children can learn from this election; that they never will see the presidency as something that is only obtainable by white men, that they can believe that this is the land of opportunity where people truly can rise above their circumstances and show their greatness, that we live in a democracy where everyone has a voice and vote that matters and that can make a difference, that we can have confidence in the peaceful transfer of power as one president, one political party, steps aside for the next because that is what the people wanted, and that we live in the greatest nation on this earth, a country, not without mistakes and faults, but one where we can learn from the past and rise above our mistakes, always striving to be better.

I hope that as this election season winds down and we get back to our normal lives, we can come together to celebrate our common goals and ideals instead of concentrating on our differences.  I hope that we can all appreciate that we just witnessed an historic election between two great men, that regardless of political differences, both truly love this country, and that we can remember that lesson.  We can remember that even if we disagree politically, we can still agree that we love America and that we all want what we think is best, even if we disagree on what that is.  And that is what makes this country so great; we can disagree and yet we can still all be friends.  Some of us can be thrilled with the outcome of the election while others are immensely disappointed, but at the end of the day, we are all still American's, and in four more years we get to do this all again.

I don't know for sure what President Obama's presidency will be like.  I don't know what he will accomplish or where he will lead this country, but I have hope that it will be good, and I will pray for him that he will make the decisions that will lead this country in a direction it needs to go.  And more than anything, I will pray to thank my Heavenly Father that I could be a part of all this and that I could live in such an amazing country.  I am proud to be an American!

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