…day of sadness.
My eyes having been brimming with tears nearly all day. I’m absurdly, over-the-moon happy about Barack Obama being the President-Elect for the United States of America. He was never my main candidate, but he’s always been far preferred over John McCain and I know that he will do well sitting in the Oval Office.
The country still has an extremely tough road ahead of it. We’re at a very low point right now. Perhaps not the lowest in history, but it’s still a daunting task that lies ahead for the 44th President. He’s got expectations of him that no single human could ever hope to meet, not even a brilliant, charismatic young man who has risen from very humble beginnings and apparently insurmountable obstacles to become the first African-American president. The next four years are going to be rocky and Obama and the Democratically-led Congress will feel the pressure to perform miracles, else the Dems may be voted out of office come 2010 and Obama may face the same thing Clinton faced in 1994: a Republican-led Congress that will fight their legally elected president every step of the way.
I think Obama can do it.
He has no illusions, as testified by his acceptance speech. He’s very pragmatic. He’s a survivor of Chicago politics, which are some of the toughest politics in the country. But he knows how to inspire people, to bring them to their better selves. And he knows how to reach out to the other side of the aisle and work to get things done.
Last night (after I spent the day poll watching) CuteFilmNerd and I were at a local Democratic headquarters. The premises had once been a car dealership – easily the largest Dem HQ I had ever been at. All around us – both inside and outside the building – were faithful Democrats and Obama supporters, the majority of which were African-American. As we stood amongst our fellow political travelers, watching MSNBC, the seconds counted down to the closing of the polls, the electoral count flipped to 284 for Obama, and the most excited, heart-felt crowd cheer I had ever heard erupted, ricocheting off the walls of the huge room filled with hopeful Californians. I cheered along with them, still not believing what had happened but happy nonetheless.
Later CFN and I stood outside the building in the chilly, windy evening. Another big screen TV played Obama’s acceptance speech as CFN and I held hands, surrounded by even more joyful folks. Silence alternated with cheers. Cars driving by honked and people walking the streets of Culver City screamed with excitement and – dare I say it? Hope. Hope was in the air. Something so many Americans had almost gotten existed.
CFN and I went to sleep last night, silly grins on our faces that just would not go away.
Until this morning, when we read and heard of the likely passage of Proposition 8. Gone were the smiles and feelings of hope. In their place invaded anger and sadness. Tears rimmed my eyes again. I despaired for my fellow Californians who had their rights ripped away from them.
Still, there are more votes are still to be counted. In Debra Bowen, California has a Secretary of State who will not allow those votes to sit in a room uncounted. I have faith in that much, at least. My gut says that Prop H8 will still pass, but I live in hope that it won’t. And know what my future holds if it does: fighting for the civil rights of Americans who have been told that they are second class citizens.
The fight lies ahead, gentle readers. The fight for restoring our country. The fight for civil liberties. Neither fight will be easy.
But I have hope. Because these are fights we can win.
Yes, we can.
H/T Janiece for video