11/5/08

Hope or Two Different Tuesdays

I'm not going to say anything about the politics of the situation because I know my political views are different from others. Politics aside I'm looking at the big picture. Sister Morgan summed it up best with her Facebook status:

"Sharon Morgan is crying because she saw race riots in person, and now for the first time in 38 years, she feels proud of her country again."

Amen. Amen.

"Yes We Can."
"Yes We Did."
"Change has come to America."

All of these phrases marked tonight, which I would say is one of the more historic moments in the history that I have witnessed. Though it's not saying much it still says something. In my lifetime I have witnessed things like the Tuesday morning of Sept. 11, 2001. I remember coming in through the door after seminary, and shock as I stood next to my dad, eyes glued to the TV as the last of the twin towers fell to the ground, thousands of pounds of concrete peeling downwards. I knew then that the world would end. All chaos was about to be unleashed upon the nations of the world because people out there were evil enough to throw planes into buildings. And for what? What a contrast today is to that day. Two different Tuesdays.

I'm Canadian. Though American politics is fun to watch and follow, it really is like watching a sport to me. I follow it the same way I would follow a favorite sports team--slightly detached and rooting for a team that really doesn't mean much. That's not to say the issues aren't important, but they don't affect me directly because I'm not American. Sad truth though is that having spent the last five years in America, I know more about what's going on here than back at home. The issues here have more relevance (if not relative importance) to the issues at home.

Today, I saw a million people gather in a place that was the site of racial riots 40 years ago to support a new President. I saw in the smiles of the anonymous million waiting for President Obama to make his acceptance speech, the shadow of hundreds of years of civil rights atrocities and injustices lift from the face of America. I saw in the hugs of jubilation that differences can bring us together: history doesn't have to dictate the future. I saw in their tears the visual expression of the hope that I felt.

I'm not a very optimistic person. I'm a person that loses faith in humanity more and more as I get older, but tonight it was different. In those people's expressions I felt hope, I felt hope in humanity because I knew that America had gone a long way to overcome it's own past. America elected an African-American man to be its president.

I don't know how long this hope I feel will last, but I know that at for at least one night, I can be proud of the human race again.

4 comments:

Matthew R. Hall, Esq. said...

As I turned on the TV and looked at the electoral count last night, I had to stop and be silent for a moment. This country, this battered nation with tired citizens, had risen above centuries of prejudice and wrong information to elect the black son of a single mother with a Muslim middle name. A quiet sense of pride and patriotism rose inside my breast, a memory of better times and a spark of hope for times to come.

Politics aside, this is incredible. When I drove home, the snow on the ground and the overcast clouds trapped the stadium lights in the air. The fresh, clean, new ground glowed white. It comes and goes, but I feel like everything is new and good again.

Sky said...

President Elect Obama stands on the shoulders of many martyrs--many men who were murdered, assassinated; many women and men have fought hard to open a door he, obviously, worked hard to prepare himself to walk through. This includes his wife, who holds a law degree from Harvard, but who has chosen to stay home to raise her children.
I'm not sure either McCain nor Obama can do anything about the mess we've now inherited. The constraints around what a president can do with what he's given are too tight.
I'm watching carefully to see who he chooses to have around him. Four years ago, I remember thinking that Bush might be OK simply because he had intelligent people around him, but in the first two weeks after the election, he replaced half of his top advisors. I felt sick.
(Would that some of you were in a position to step in and help council presidents.) Obama has a great burden to carry. It would have been the same situation for McCain. But, I love how Obama activated non-political young voters, probably not here or in Utah, but I haven't seen that many young college kids dancing in the streets since . . . well, never mind.
I know this is so clich├ęd, but--even though I don't quite trust who he may choose as his Chief of Staff, and I'm sick of seeing Oprah standing on his platform--I have to admit that as the newscaster stopped talking and waited for the last few seconds before 11:00 pm, and, then, I heard him announce the next president, tears started falling--not because I think he can do a better job than John McCain, but because I saw this image of Martin Luther King Sr raising his arm and saying "I have a dream ...." I saw images of Blacks who tried to vote, who had their skulls beaten in. I saw eight-yr-olds huddled together, holding hands, protected by police, as they were forced to walk through segregation lines of kids who were spitting at them. I mean Obama was born when we still had segregation, for heck sake. It's going to get worse--no matter who is president--because of the great mess we're in, but this is a HISTORICAL TIME. And I'm really proud to have lived to see this happen. I told my old cowboy dad last night, "Dad, I don't know how you missed this, but American is not, nor has it ever been, a nation of just white people." This is why I feel happy with this election. Even though I believed the Lord would bring us all back as brothers and sisters someday, like many my age who saw the intense hatred and prejudice, I just didn't think this could ever actually happen in my lifetime.
There. I hope you're not throwing up from the sugar, but ... I really am astounded.

iBo said...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27542176/

It warms my heart to no end to see you like this Sis. Morgan.

Your comment about Martin Luther King and his hands made me think of this article that I read today. The highlight of it was this:

'Dare to dream'
Nelson Mandela, an international symbol of racial reconciliation and hope, was among the many around the world to congratulate Obama on his victory. South Africa's first black president said the election of America's first was a symbol of hope.

In a letter of congratulations released by his office Wednesday, Mandela said the Democrat's victory demonstrated that anyone can "dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place."

Mandela spent 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid struggle, and was elected president in the first all-race elections in 1994. He retired from politics after serving one five-year term.

You're right. He does stand on the shoulders of so many that have gone on before him. Really, how many have died to bring the country to this point in history? It blows my mind.

iBo said...

"Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place," South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela, said in a letter of congratulations to Obama.

That's what I wanted to say. Oops.