Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Speeches

I wanted to write this morning about feeling irritated. There were these jerky girls who were being divisive at CrossFit last night and I wanted to rant about them. But it all seems insignificant in light of last night's election events.

My God, there were some good speeches last night. The way John McCain applauded President-elect Obama's ability to get involved those people who "mistakenly felt they had no voice" in the election was truly inspiring and for real gracious. That speech was the most genuine and the most human I felt he's been the entire race.

And then Barack Obama spoke! That man can speak like nobody I've ever, ever heard. The most moving moments of the speech for me were the way he referenced the young people (me!) who rejected the myth of our generation's apathy and when he inserted the "Yes we can" refrain into his story. He made the whole speech like a call-and-response oral history of the nation from a Civil Rights perspective.

I think the beauty of his campaign lies not only in the freshness of his promises, but in his ability to energize a nation. When I was working the phone banks in Homewood yesterday, I was initially afraid. I didn't want to ride my BICYCLE through HOMEWOOD. And when I first crossed onto Frankstown Ave, I saw the broken glass in the streets, the litter on the sidewalk, and I felt afraid of poverty and crime.

But then there were old ladies out picking up trash. And old men barbequeing chicken...not for sale but for any passersby who wanted a snack on the way to voting. And every public surface had a Barack Obama sign plastered to it and the streets slowly began to fill with cheerful people voting for the first time. Feeling involved in a nation that has allowed them to be swept to the margins of affluent society. I talked to them on the phone as they waited in line at the polls to cast their vote, and I felt hope.

You know how on Christmas morning the world just seems to feel hopeful for some reason? Or how everyone gets this little flutter of hopeful joy on the morning of a big snowfall? I feel all those things right now. All this anticipation for the next 8 years and I am really, really glad to be American today.

5 comments:

east side girl said...

Nicely put! Your last paragraph sums it up perfectly.

p said...

I have been reading and rereading your post trying to think of something meaningful with which to respond, something that carries the emotions and reaction I feel when I've read what you've written. I can’t.

There are places where I share your sentiment but I am mostly in awe. I am amazed at how we can share so much in common, education, relative proximity of birth and childhood, working class families, ambition and feminist views, and hope for a country we both love - yet we view the world, solutions to the world's problems, and analysis of the causes of those problems completely differently. THAT is where we are most diverse and I hope that as we have overcome the “first” that has been part of this election as a “race issue” we can move past the surface / obvious differences that the media calls “diversity” to get to root and debate the diversity of ideas. Because it isn’t my salary, my skin color(s), my religion OR my political party that compelled me to vote for the other candidate, it certainly wasn’t his running mate or his campaign; it was the stark contrast of fundamental views on the structure or our political and economic system. But no one talks about that. Hell, hardly anyone THINKS about that. People vote on gas prices and abortion and popularity and unions and change and wars but they don’t look at systems that perpetuate or shield us from those things. Philosophies that drive the decisions of our leadership.

I like Obama, how academically smart he is, his temperament and his style. I like that he can form a sentence and say nuclear. I like his story and his family and his strategic plan that campaigned in areas where he knew he would win and where he thought he could lose. I do not share his views of our system and his economic philosophy but I respect the office. And I hope that he makes wise choices. That he will not make the mistake of his predecessor, surrounding himself with only like-minded individuals, that he will require his circle of closest advisors to challenge every decision.

My other hope is that GOP scraps the garbage that it has embraced and rebuilds on the principles of responsible government and capitalism, listens to people like me (conceited as that may sound) rather than one issue anti-gay “base” that isn’t a base - and gets a clue how to talk to people, real people, about the philosophy of Lincoln and Reagan. Otherwise I can’t hang on for another cycle…

I just wrote a lot of stuff; none of it really sums up anything. Blah.

Valtastic said...

I'm glad Obama won... I really liked McCain's speech.. I think he's a good guy but I'm glad he's not going to be president.

I'm really glad Bush is going to be gone. That's the most important thing. It's the ending of an awful era.

K-Train said...

Anyone else feel like McCain is the new Gore? Gore was turned into a robot for his campaign and stopped talking about the things that mattered to him.When McCain started kissing W's butt because he wanted to be president he became a totally different person. I would have voted for him in 2000.

It's too bad that only in defeat does the McCain that I thought could have been a great leader re-emerges.

I am a cynical independent and my expectations of Obama and the dems will be high. If you arouse the hopes of a nation with elegant words and noble intentions you must find a way to fulfill them. As Obama so clearly said-now the real work begins.

Laura V said...

I don't see that McCain and Obama *have* any major fundamental differences when it comes to economics. They're both capitalists.

McCain is a stronger believer in deregulation, but it's not as if Obama is planning to institute state control of industry.