Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To the future.

Isaac and I went to our friend Natasha's house last night, along with two other girlfriends, Meghan and Wendy, to watch the presidential election results. We cooked a delicious meal that included garlic orange shrimp with brown rice and snow peas and fried, stuffed wontons. Meghan made a beautiful bi-partisan cake (we invited her, even though she was the only Republican among us. :) I have to say, she was a very good sport), and Natasha also made a delicious bread pudding.

We spent the first couple of hours of our evening in the kitchen and on baby duty (Natasha has a sweet 8-month-old named Sam), and when we finally settled down in front of the TV with our plates, I honestly couldn't believe what I was seeing. Obama was ahead. Though I hoped for it, I was sure it could really happen. I think I sorely underestimated the American people in thinking that they'd never elect an African-American president. I thought there was still too much bigotry in the country. It turns out, the bigotry was staring me in the face as I looked in the mirror.

Even as Obama took hold of Ohio, an accomplishment that nearly assured his victory since no Republican has ever won the presidential race without winning Ohio, I was still too nervous to get excited. I didn't want to "jinx" him. I was almost uninterested, almost emotionless as I watched with bated breath, trying not to let my hopes get too high, thinking that surely the evening would take a turn for the worst. Any moment now...

Isaac and I went home a little after 9:30. He was tired, and I felt badly for keeping him up so late. At home, I didn't have time to turn on the TV. We went to Isaac's room, and he nursed for almost an hour before allowing me to lay him in his crib without fussing. While I was nursing him, I started to get text messages from friends asking, "Can you believe this?" (and one from my dad that said "The world has ended"). I knew he had been ahead last time I looked, but I still didn't want to believe that he was elected president. I was sure that, soon as I let out a sigh of relief or allowed my lips to part into a smile, something would happen to take the joy back out of me.

When I did finally turn on the TV, I couldn't believe it. 338. Obama had won 338 electoral votes. He is going to be the President of the United States. Even then, as I watch Obama give his acceptance speech, I couldn't believe it. I was in total and complete shock. A good shock, though. The shock of knowing our country will be in good hands for the next four years.

I feel strongly that Obama will have an effect in changing the country's current bad direction. I don't think he can clean up all eight years' worth of messes Bush has made, but I think he will have a definite positive impact on the quality of life in the country.

I was touched, watching Obama accept his election, at the number of African Americans who were also watching, noting the great transition the country has made. Fifty years ago, black people couldn't vote. Yesterday, a black man was elected to the country's highest office.

But still, more than he is an African American man, Obama is a man who will affect great change in the nation. Who wants to improve the country's economy, healthcare, to end the war in Iraq. I do feel that he will leave this country better than he found it. He'll need help, though, and I hope (and I think) he'll appoint people to his Cabinet who excel in the areas in which he lacks experience. Rather than surround himself with people who will pat him on the back and tell him nothing but "yes," I hope he'll build for himself a "team of rivals," as Lincoln did. Because no matter how much I respect and admire Obama, I know he can't do it alone.

I feel, like Tasha said, as though a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I feel very, very hopeful for our country's future. I'm very eager to see what the next four years have in store. (Egad! Four years! I can't imagine Isaac as a 4-year-old!)

Next post, photos from our fabulous watch party.


Tasha said...

Nice. Thanks for posting. It's so great to share enthusiasm after such a long, dark period, lol.

Maybe I should have included a little more about WHY I think his policies will benefit our country. I probably sound like a blind optimist, but I did do my research and I do agree with many of his politics. I guess those things took a backseat to the overwhelming emotions that overtook me, at the moment.

Here's to (hopefully) a brighter future for our little guys ;)

Shelly Collins said...

Fun to think that we were all a part of this significant time in our nation's history. Hopefully these posts will never get lost, your granchildren will enjoy reading your experience!

Oh, and you look pretty in the pics you posted :)


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