Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God Bless America



My parents didn't teach me to believe that America was a great country. My siblings might tell you a different story, but what I learned from my very political parents was about the paradox, the hypocrisy, of a country created by men with such high minded ideals who exterminated native Americans, owned slaves and saw women as second class human beings. I remember being shown diagrams of the slave ships, the people stacked inside like so much cargo.

I remember hearing a lot about the greed of the carpetbaggers and about how capitalism brought out the worst in people. McCarthyism was a frequent topic of conversation because my parents were blacklisted in the 1950's - probably because they were "card carrying" members of the Communist party, at least for a little while after World War II. I came of age in the late 60's when my parents were involved in the Civil Rights Movement and my mother with the Women's Movement. The focus was always on inequality and injustice. At least that's what I remember.

But the fact that this country could re-invent itself as it did yesterday, shift gears so dramatically as to elect Barack Obama, that Americans stood in line all day - cheerfully - because they wanted to vote, well gosh. Maybe this IS a country of great opportunity where anything really can happen. Maybe the ideals of the founding fathers were more than pretty words. Maybe we can be a great nation. Yes we can? Maybe it's true.

I am proud of my country this morning. Wow. What a relief!

15 comments:

willow said...

I am feeling a burst of American pride today!! Something I haven't felt in a very long time. :D

This carved pumpkin is fabulous!

Lynne said...

They finally woke up from their 8 year long stupor! Hurray for Americans!

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reya Mellicker said...

My roommates tell me I have to describe the scene here in the house on Tennessee Avenue at 11:30 p.m. last night, a half hour after they called the election.

Eight gay men, partying, music turned up to eleven, toasting and cheering + me, crying like a baby, checking in with friends and family and loved ones all over the country (by phone), crying some more.

I didn't cry that much when I got divorced. Wow - what a night.

Merle Sneed said...

Your happiness brings me happiness.

ArtSparker said...

Imagine the scene in downtown Oakland, mostly African American, a lot of honking of horns. I'm an introvert, but was in a bar jammed full of folks for Obama's speech.

Reya Mellicker said...

It was a good night to spend with other people, even for us introverts.

Oh yeah!

Janelle said...

oh wow wow wow reya! what a day. even all the way here in africa. the school kids were leaping about calling out his name. today is the only day EVER when i wished i was american. hope has been restored by all the american voters. and of course by this great man. may strength be his. its not going to be easy. what an emotional day. how grateful i am to be on this planet at this moment in time to witness this! XXX janelle

Anonymous said...

In 2004, I shed tears of despair over the election. Last night I shed tears of joy, and I am still getting teary eyed today when I think of all the images from last night. There is a sense of hope - my faith in humanity has been restored.

Love,
Salima

Steve said...

Isn't it amazing, how much people CARED about this race, how excited they got about this man? It's so beautiful!

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

What I am reminded of with each pundit I hear is that much of what wooed people about Obama was that he consistently showed confidence, calmness and a lack of anger. There are so many reasons to be angry, and I am heartened that despite the boos from his audience that even John McCain showed grace and eloquence in his concession speech. For now at least, I have no desire to return the hate to the haters but to move forward knowing that for whatever setbacks there certainly will be in the days ahead, the US has crossed an enormous mountain and shown it has the capacity to be a just and great country.

Reya Mellicker said...

I thought McCain was gracious, too, and yes, everything all of you said.

Janelle I am especially honored that for one day you wanted to be American. Wow! That means a lot! Honorary American citizenship for a day is extended to you, oh yeah!

We saw vids of the kids in Kenya dancing around last night. One thing Obama has definitely got right is that this IS one world now. We are all so interconnected that what happens one place has impact everywhere.

Wow.

tut-tut said...

all that worry exploded in joy! My yoga teacher went to the Dem parties last night, one at Bessie Smith Hall, where she was one of two white people. Unbelievably exciting, she said.

I'm trying to read headlines around the world. It's all positive.

hele said...

I also cried and Florian kept on smiling with happiness :)

Pod said...

hurray!
xx

playfulinnc said...

woohooooo! Maybe NOW we'll move back to D.C.!