Yesterday was an amazing day. Every moment of the day, from brushing my daughter's hair in the morning to standing in line for an hour discussing local propositions on the ballot to casting my ballot for my candidate... I went through my day with a hesitant joy in my heart that I haven't felt in a long time. Even when my 11 year old daughter came home and told me that her friend Sarah told her that her parent's were "voting for McCain because he was a Christian and her dad read on a website that Obama thought killing babies was cool," I didn't falter... instead I used the opportunity as a teaching moment, and explained what an abortion is, when the law and doctor's consider a baby to be able to live outside the mom, what it means to be pro-choice, what it means to be pro-life, and why I am pro-choice. I explained to her all the various reasons why a woman might chose to have an abortion; due to age, poverty, drug use, rape, incest, or threat to the mother's life... I used her friends that at 11 years old as an example, explaining that if a girl has had her first menstral cycle, and has sex - by choice or by force, that she can get pregnant... and asked if she could imagine herself or her friends having a baby... I made sure she was armed with all the information, and understood that being pro-choice does not equate being pro-abortion. I explained that the other side quotes God, and religion and life itself as reasons for a woman not having an abortion... In asking her afterwards what she thought about the issue, she made me proud saying, "I think a woman shuld be able to chose whether they have a baby or not." I am estatic that when given the information, she was able to formulate her own opinion.
As she started homework, I made dinner, and watched my candidate quickly win state after state, sweeping the entire North East as polls closed. I picked up a couple bottles of champagne from Trader Joes before heading over to Diana Devoe and John E. Depth's house to watch the rest of the election coverage -feeling excited, nervous, and anticipating some sort of trickery from the Republican right... When we took Pennsylvania, followed by Ohio, I knew, I just knew.. that we were well on the way. When we took Florida, I was in disbelief... Then finally, amongst good friends and new ones, I heard Jon Stewart become dead serious and say the following words...
"At 11 o'clock at night, Eastern Standard Time, The President of the United States, is Barack Obama."..
My hands went to my mouth, I stood in the middle of the room, in shock for a few moments. Suddenly, the whole room cheered... We had did it. We spoke out collectively. 63 million people across the United States stood together in voting booths across this coutnry and said, "No More." We stood for change, we stood for justice, we stood for racial equality, we stood for social advancement... We stood together and decided that we had to chose a President that is intelligent, charismatic and decisive, someone we could be proud of as he faces the rest of the world leaders with a calm, respectful reserve.
I gathered my daughter from playing video games online in the back room and brought her out to celebrate with us. I wanted her to listen to her President speak for the first time... After all, he is the one that will insure that she has a better healthcare system, and affordable college education, and alternative sources of fuel and most importantly that she doesn't inherit this multi-trillion dollar debt created by 16 years of Reuplican rule. She leaned in my arms as we heard President-elect Obama speak to his constituents.
As a child born in the month that the Watergate tapes were being subpeonaed and educated completely under the Reagan-Bush administration, I am excited that my daughter will grow up in the era where she will have a Black woman in the White House as a role model and a President that sincerely feels passionate about education and heathcare.. so she won't have to go into debt with student loans trying to achieve a higher education or have to contemplate filing bankruptcy should she be found to have a pre-existing medical condition not covered by her insurance.
I'm looking forward to the shift of power in not just in the White House, but in the Senate and House of Representatives as well - as this promises that My President will actually be able to get necessary bills passed to fulfill the reforms he has promised. He has a rough road ahead of him... as he said last night, it won't be easy, but I have faith that he is up to the challenge.
Last night was a joy, but this morning was a bit more somber. I spoke to my stepfather, who he told me a story about his father being jumped by 8 white men after he told them they were putting the wrong part on his car... because in their words, "No nigger was supposed to know more than a white man." I listened to this strong man that helped shape my life cry for the first time... and wondered, what would my father have thought of this amazing election and its overwhelming results. My mother told me of hanging off the back of a trolley car because Blacks weren't allowed at the front of the car, and my heart, my Man, who told me of being in a double stroller with his twin sister going to civil rights rallies and marches with his parents.
Today I have listened to the arguements that Barack is not Black but biracial, only to counter with the fact that in this country, the one that created the "one drop rule," this great man, Barack Obama, has and always will be viewed as a Black Man - regardless of his accomplishments. Even when he became the head of the Harvard Law Review, he was the first Black man to hold such a position... So despite his being born to a White mother and raised by his White grandparents, despite our hopes and dreams of a world less divided by race, despite this deserving accomplishment he made yesterday, he will always be known as our nation's first African-American President.
In his acceptance speech, though he never mentioned the issue of his race, the change he alluded to was filled with it. Today, I finally shed tears while I viewed photos on The Huffington Post of the worldwide celebration of news of his election and all of the covers of newspapers and magazines featuring his handsome, debonair face, I cried. And cried. I have yet to call one of the most important figures in my life today... my grandmother. I want to hear her stories and what she has to say about this historic day.
I have been moved... I hope that his mere presence will inspire young Black men to get their shit together, to aspire for greatness and know that anything is possible, that dreams can be achieved. I hope that our country will not look at him as a savior, but as a man that hopes to invoke change - but will need our help. I know he will need time, I know he can't fix this mess we are in in one term. I know he will be great...
I know you all have seen this acceptance speech, but I just had to post it here for you all to appreciate. My heart is filled today, my hope has been renewed, and my love and faith towards each and every one of you is restored.
I'm hoping to attend the Swearing In Ceremony on January 20th, MLK's Birthday and the 100 year anniversary of the NAACP to watch my first, true President ascend the stairs built by slaves to take his oath of office. Its going to be a coastly event, but I might just have to forego AVN this year to make it happen...